I went food shopping on Monday evening, the day the DJIA dropped more than 600 points. I don’t have any more than your average Joe tied up in my 401k (and in fact I can’t even tell you how much it is worth, because I never look), but last I checked it was fully invested in the stock market.
I’m long equities, as they say on the Street, because I figure I have a long (ish) time to retire, and at which point things will be looking up. And, according to Nate Silver, in the New York Times, I should be okay: stocks revert to the mean over time (something they seemed to be doing in a hurry today, with their 430 point gain, but that came long after I was home with my groceries, and who knows where they will be by the time you read this.)
But watching 1 trillion dollars vanish from the stock market had a sobering effect. So I picked up the New York State Cheddar, but didn’t buy any Gruyere. I loaded up on vegetables, but didn’t pause at the case of grass-fed meat. I thought for a moment about what I had in the freezer, and I decided to eat those things up, instead of spending any large sums on protein.
A box of Henry and Lisa’s wild bay scallops has been kicking around our freezer for far too long, so I decided I would eat it that night. I texted Santa Maria, who was at home, and asked her to take it out to thaw. Then I tried to remember all the ingredients in a perfect summer dish I once made from the "Gourmet Every Day" cookbook: scallops with mint, peas, and couscous.
That wasn’t hard. Three ingredients. I knew I had peas in the freezer too, so all I needed to do was buy the mint. I finished up my shop, took the bus home with my bags of groceries (no spending cash on cab fare that night!) and started dinner the minute I got in the door. It was done twenty minutes later.
Nina and Pinta had eaten black beans and rice earlier that evening, so they were content to eat dessert while their mother and I enjoyed the our dinner. It was a quick, light, and delicious way to end the day.
Super Quick Scallop Salad with Mint, Peas, and Couscous
- 1/2 cup couscous
- 8-16 ounces of scallops (bay work fine, as do sea scallops; see note below)
- 1 quarter cup frozen peas
- 1-3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- Lemon juice, to taste
- Olive Oil
Make the couscous by bringing 1/2 cup water to boil in a small pot with a tight cover. Once the water boils, toss in the couscous, stir, and cover. Let sit about fifteen minutes, and then fluff.
Dry the scallops with paper towel.
Heat a cast-iron skillet until it is very hot, and then add a bit of oil.
Toss the scallops into the pan, but don't crowd the pan. If you are making more, use a two pans.
Let the scallops sit undisturbed as the pan continues to heat until the edge is caramelized.
Shake the scallops around with a spatula, and turn off the heat to let them finish cooking. If you are using sea scallops and they happen to be thick, flip them and heat the other side for a couple of minutes.
While the scallops cook, heat a bit of water in another pot and toss in the peas. Boil until they are a bright green and remove from heat.
Combine the couscous, peas, mint, and scallops in a bowl, and dress with the lemon, oil, and salt.
Note: The "Gourmet Every Day" recipe calls for sea scallops and suggests dressing them with sesame seeds. I've never made it their way, but I'm sure it is equally, if not more, delicious. And as a further note, that cook book has never failed me.