Sunday, April 24, 2011

Asparagus and Pan-seared Scallops with Lemon Fennel Sauce

It's spring! Thinking about what to make for a special date night with that special someone? Here's a simple recipe that is both elegant and promise to not break your bank. This dish highlights the fresh flavor of fennel, accentuating it with cirtusy lemon. The perfect partner for that is none other than fresh scallops and slightly grassy asparagus.

I had this packed for lunch one time and totally felt like I was dining at a five-star restuarant at my office desk ;). To make this dish lunch-portable, slice the asparagus at an angle before sauteing them. Pack into your lunch box with some homemade rice pilaf. And you have a restaurant-worthy meal for lunch at your desk!

1. 10 to 12 stalks asparagus, green
2. 3/4 cup scallops
3. 3/4 cup vegetable stock
4. 2 to 3 slices lemon
5. 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, dry toasted
6. Pinch of chili flakes
7. Salt and white pepper to taste
8. 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil

1. In a small pot, reduce homemade vegetable stock with lemon and fennel seeds. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Reduce to sauce consistency, should be about 1/2 cup.
2. While sauce is reducing, in another pot, bring water to boil. Salt water and blanch asparagus for about 2 minutes. Remove into ice bath to stop cooking. Remove from ice bath and let dry on paper towel-lined plate/sheet pan.
3. In a saute pan, pan-sear scallops on both sides in a little bit of grapeseed oil. About 2 mins. Remove the scallops from the pan and set aside.
4. Return asparagus to same saute pan and saute with salt, pepper and chili flakes. Cook until tender and return scallops to pan to warm through.
5. Serve on plate and drizzle with lemon fennel sauce. Serve with either rice or noodles.

Nutritional value of this recipe:
The entire serving of this recipe is barely 200 calories and provides you with about 25%* of your daily Vitamin C, Vitamin A and iron requirements. It also contains about 6.5g of dietary fiber. So what's not to love about this simple yet elegant dish?

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