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Recipe: Seared scallops with ragout are quick and full of protein

You know you’re in for a treat when seafood is the speciality at a restaurant. That’s the exact case at the historic Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The walls are lined with historic photos and clippings of important goings on in the south. The dining room is rife with Southern comfort foods, including this recipe for Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Bacon Ragout, which I adapted from Chef James Clark.

It is quick and simple and the side dish of squash and bacon can be made days in advance and kept for that gastronomic weeknight meal you crave but don’t normally have time for.

Ingredients

• 1 butternut squash (about 4-5 cups cubed)

• 2 strips bacon

• 12 large scallops

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 1 tbsp butter

• 2 shallots, minced

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 3 tbsp  white wine

• 1/2 bunch chives

1. Peel and chop squash into 1 inch cubes (or use prepared/ frozen squash cubes to speed up the dish).

2. In a small pot cover the butternut squash with cold water and place on the stove on high heat and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer 5-15 minutes until just fork tender but with a little bit of strain and cool.

3. Dice bacon into small cubes and cook in a large sauté pan slowly until crisp. Remove from the heat and drain and reserve the bacon pieces and the drippings separately.

4. Heat the same sauté pan, pat scallops dry with paper towel and season with the salt and pepper, add butter to the pan and place scallops to sear. Once the edges become nice and brown (about 2 mins) turn over and cook 1 min. Then remove and set on paper towels to side in a warm area.

5. In the same pan add back the bacon, shallots and garlic and sauté for a min, then add the squash and the white wine then chives.

6. Place scallops atop a bed of squash.

Health Solutions

I see your protein and raise you three scallops

Scallops are one of the fastest weeknight seafoods you can imagine.

They are available frozen year-round. If you buy them on sale and astock up, you can find quite a bargain for your omega-3 buck.

Unlike other frozen seafood, the protein in scallops seems to suffer less damage, netting a nicer texture when thawed then cooked.

Scallops rank around the middle of fishes in omega-3 content but low on the cholesterol, calorie and fat scale, making them excellent health food.

The only trick in cooking them is to pat dry, use a hot pan and don’t cook for more than 5 minutes.

Letting them rest before serving helps the scallop to cook through all the way but a little translucence in the centre helps make sure that they aren’t like eating erasers.

Three toonie-sized scallops are about 100 calories and yet 18 grams of protein (about one third of a day’s requirement).

They also serve up about one-third of your omega-3 needs for the day and a healthy, balanced dose of magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and private nutritionist in Toronto. She is @theresaalbert on Twitter and found daily at myfriendinfood.com