Expand seafood ingredient possibilities
The 40 days (excluding Sundays) that comprise the Lenten season traditionally require abstaining from meats and other rich foods on key days during this sacred time on the Christian calendar. The faithful move to more humble foods as they choose to be reverent and focus on Jesus’s sacrifices. Simple meals of vegetables and fish tend to be staples in Christian households this time of year. When seafood is not the typical first choice for families, it could be challenging to come up with new ways to prepare fish, crustaceans and more. Those who have exhausted their fillets and salmon steak options can look to scallops for inspiration. Scallops are a species of marine bivalve mollusk that come in “bay” and “sea” varieties. The large muscle inside of the scallop, which can sometimes be 2 inches in sea scallops, is cooked and eaten. Bay scallops, which are harvested from the shallow waters of East Coast estuaries and bays, are roughly one-third the size of sea scallops. Bay scallops tend to be more tender than sea scallops, but both can be delicious when prepared correctly. In certain instances, manufacturers will produce “faux” scallops, which actually are chunks cut from certain sharks and stingrays. This recipe for “Seared Scallops with Snow Peas and Orange” from “Real Simple Dinner Tonight: Done!” (Time Home Entertainment) from the Real Simple Kitchen can be a tasty, unique meal when other fish dinners have already been tried. Seared Scallops with Snow Peas and Orange Serves 4 1 cup couscous 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil 16 sea scallops (about 11⁄2 pounds) Kosher salt and black pepper 4 strips orange zest (removed with a vegetable peeler), thinly sliced 1⁄4 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved lengthwise Cook the couscous according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry, season with 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Wipe out the skillet. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the orange zest, snow peas, and 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, tossing frequently, until the snow peas are just tender, about 2 minutes. Serve with the scallops and couscous.