Roasted Pepper Sauce over Mussels, Scallops
This dish appears a bit plain, but the depth of flavor in the sauce was more meaningful than adding a bunch of ingredients to me. I thought this was nice enough to serve for company, but easy enough for an intimate weeknight dinner as well. I purchased fresh mussels and large Jersey scallops at my local fishery (I love Wegman’s) and luckily had the rest of the ingredients handy. I don’t usually serve bread with dinner, but this sauce is special enough to drink and/or sop up.
Scallops can be tricky little buggers to cook. I’ve gotten sick from them in upscale restaurants, I’ve had chewy disgusting plastic scallops, and foul-smelling soggy, under cooked scallops. If you aren’t familiar with how to cook them, the best thing to do is use a timer! Smaller scallops the size of a silver-dollar can go for 60 seconds/side and larger 90 seconds/side–and I prefer butter to brown them in over oil. Mussels are pretty easy, remove the beards if applicable and steam with some light wine and herbs… boom, done in 5 minutes. Honestly, the most laborious pat of this dish was the sauce and waiting for the pasta water to boil (and clean-up after the feast, make sure you have someone else handle that)! I didn’t find cheese necessary in this dish (I never use cheese with seafood even in pasta) and I suppose I could have added some clams or fresh shrimp, but this worked fine for us. Bon appetit!
1 lb. spinach linguine
2 lb. fresh mussels
1 lb. large scallops
3 large bell peppers (red, yellow) or several baby peppers
3 garlic cloves
1/2 sweet onion
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
2 c fresh baby spinach
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 c low sodium broth (I used chicken, seafood stock preferred)
1 1/2 c white wine (I used Pinot)
3 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp fresh oregano
2 tsp crushed red pepper
plenty of salt, cracked pepper
1. Rough chop peppers, fresh baby spinach, onion, garlic, and fresh oregano and place in large sauté pan (if you have the time, roast all with olive oil), add the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook until peppers are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 c wine and broth and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Meanwhile boil the pasta water and prepare the seafood (cleaning and sprinkling with salt and pepper). For the mussels: pour the remaining 1 c wine and the fresh thyme sprigs in a large pot, adding the mussels and covering. Steam for 5 minutes. Simultaneously (if possible), heat 2 tbsp of the butter in a small skillet until very hot, but not burning. Add scallops and sear (WITHOUT MOVING) for 90 seconds per side. Remove and keep warm
3. Blend the pepper, onion, spinach, broth mixture in a food processor until smooth, add remaining 2 tbsp butter and red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste (strain if desired, but not necessary).
4. Once spinach linguine is cooked and drained, add seafood and spoon pepper sauce over. Toss and season as needed. Serve immediately with crusty bread. et Voila!