I’m spending the week visiting my Family in Pennsylvania. They love fish and seafood, but it is quite difficult for them to find it fresh on the southeastern border of the state. I am lucky enough to have access to an abundance of fresh fish and seafood in Charlotte. My sister loves scallops as much as I do, so I brought her a few pounds. I did a little digging in her fridge and gathered up the ingredients to prepare this recipe for Scallops Florentine. To be honest, my Brother gave this dish its name.
If you are local to Charlotte, grab a pound or two of U10-U12 (means 10 to 12 scallops per pound), dry-packed scallops at The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. Not local, they can ship to you.
LET’S TALK SCALLOPS
It’s very important when selecting scallops to buy dry-packed. Wet-packed scallops will lose volume during the cooking process. This is not the case with dry-packed scallops. Just like anything you want to sear, the scallops need to be as dry as possible when placing in the pan.
If you are preparing this as an entree, plan on at least four scallops per person. There were seven of us for dinner, so I decided two pounds would be perfect.
Cast iron is always my go-to. The scallops will never stick, and cast iron is the perfect vehicle in creating an amazing sear.
Rinse scallops. Pull off and discard the foot (the piece of muscle that attaches to the shell). Place scallops on paper towels to drain. Pat dry. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
HOW TO MAKE SCALLOPS FLORENTINE
Prepare the pasta to al dente. Do not forget to salt the water. Reserve a cup of the pasta liquid.
Heat butter in cast iron pan to medium-high. Place scallops. Do not crowd the pan, or you may not achieve a gorgeous sear. Work in batches. Allow the scallops to sear on one side (without touching) for about three to four minutes. Flip and allow to sear on the opposite side. Reserve in a bowl or on a plate. Finishing searing the remaining scallops.
In the same pan you used to sear the scallops, add in the minced garlic. Cook just a few minutes to soften, not brown. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom. Pour in the heavy whipping cream and allow to heat up, just to under a boil, to thicken a bit. Slowly, and I mean very slowly, whisk in the Parmesan cheese.
If the sauce looks a bit thick, add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Toss in the spinach and allow to wilt. Sprinkle in a few pinches of crushed red pepper. Transfer the finished pasta to the pan and coat with the sauce.
TO SERVE THE SCALLOPS FLORENTINE
Top the pasta with the reserved scallops and any juices that accumulated in the bowl. Very gently, incorporate the scallops into the sauce. You are not looking to cook the scallops any further, just warm in the sauce.
Grab a huge pasta bowl. Transfer the Scallops Florentine from the pan into the bowl. Garnish with a touch more freshly grated Parmesan cheese and the lemon zest. Serve immediately. ENJOY!
If you love scallops as much as I do, check out these recipes!