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    12.31.14

    The perfect feast can be built with a few simple foundational elements: loving and thoughtful intentions, clean and fresh ingredients, and good company. These tools help us fully embrace what this season is all about – celebrating life with the people we love. So when it comes to food, we turn to Diana Yen’s latest cookbook, A Simple Feast.

    A Simple Feast is filled with wonderful heartfelt stories, taking you on the ultimate culinary journey that unfolds with the seasons. From a trip to an antique market and a visit to the apple orchard, to a rooftop barbeque and a day spent inside during a snowy winter, each event inspires simple and elegant food. Between these pages we discovered this recipe for Seared Scallops and Chanterelle Pasta. The purity and beauty of this dish is as enticing as its call for deep nourishment and comfort. It reminds us to make time for small indulgences in life, starting with the dinner table. Whatever the occasion or audience, this recipe will provide incentive for your own simple feasts. Here’s Diana with a few culinary notes…

    Chanterelles have a slight finish of pepper on the tongue and a smell of apricots. With their fruity and woody flavors, these mushrooms are excellent in pasta dishes and their tulip shape makes them a beautiful addition to the plate. Scallops are lovely here too, as they lend a delicacy to the earthiness of the chanterelles.

    Chanterelles are just one of an incredible variety of wild mushrooms. When you see wild mushrooms pop up at the market, explore the different varieties. Morels with their spongy cones absorb flavors from sauces wonderfully. And king trumpets sliced and sautéed in butter are splendid as a main course. Or if you’re curious to forage your own, find an expert guide and go picking for them – early fall is usually best, right after the first rain.

    Seared Scallops and Chanterelle Pasta
    serves 4

    Ingredients:

    4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    8 oz fresh chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and roughly torn lengthwise
    finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1⁄4 cup dry white wine
    1⁄4 cup heavy cream, organic
    1 lb large sea scallops (about 16)
    2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
    1 lb linguini pasta
    2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

    Directions:

    Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.

    Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat until almost smoking.

    Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened and browned. Lower the heat to medium, add the lemon juice and garlic, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.

    Keeping the heat at medium, add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen up the mushroom bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the cream and cook to reduce the liquid for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has a sauce-like consistency. Remove from the heat and cover.

    Rinse the scallops under cold water and pat them very dry with paper towels. (Drying the scallops will enable them to form a better crust while searing.) In a large non-stick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallops in several batches and sear for 2 minutes on each side. Finish each batch by adding a couple cubes of butter to the pan, letting it melt and stirring to coat the scallops. Remove the scallops from the skillet and set aside. Cover loosely to keep warm.

    Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions for al dente. We like to take our pasta out 1 to 2 minutes early so that it stays firm to the bite after it’s finished in the pan.

    Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking water. Transfer the pasta to the pan with the sauce and warm the pasta in the sauce over medium heat. If the sauce needs loosening up, mix in a scant 1⁄4 cup cooking water or more as needed. Add the mushrooms to the pan and toss with the pasta, then finish with the parsley and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

    Divide the pasta among 4 plates and top each with the scallops. Serve immediately.

    How to Clean Mushrooms:

    Use a mushroom brush or toothbrush to whisk away any surface dirt. To clean smaller particles of dirt trapped in the gills on the underside of the cap, brush the mushrooms under running water. Blot with a paper towel to dry.

    From A Simple Feast by Diana Yen, © 2014 by the Jewels of New York Group, LLC. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA. 

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