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Mediterranean Scallops Over Pasta With Spinach

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Mediterranean Scallops Over Pasta with Spinach is a dish that really pops in taste! The scallops bring a flavor power punch. This is a Mediterranean diet scallop recipe – with all the health benefits that the Mediterranean diet has to offer.

If you grow up in the Mediterranean tradition of seafood you realize that seafood over pasta can be so flavorful!

Scallops are incredible frozen, wild-caught, and readily available.

Put your seafood kick in high gear!… and grab two attractive bags of wild, frozen scallops.  Envision pairing them with pasta (any kind from home) and spinach… then give this recipe a whirl. Wow…this recipe works! Scallops packed with gigantic seafood punch – sit side-by-side with the big seafood taste of lobster, shrimp, crab, and clams. However, the taste and texture of scallops are unique – once you enjoy Mediterranean Scallops Over Pasta with Spinach you might go for a repeat. 

This recipe can be made with any seafood on top, and the pasta can be combined with other greens within or on the side (for example, broccolini will be my next try).

FOOD IS MOOD Mediterranean Diet Triad:
(1) evidence-based health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
(2) soo delicious… the Mediterranean diet is so easy to follow – anyone can do it!
(3) easy and light lots of fruits, vegetables, and 8-12 ounces of any protein you like!

FOOD IS MOOD Trinity of Flavors: 
• The olive oil is for health.
• The garlic provides depth and body.
• Citrus gives pop and lightens things up.

Rules of The Scallop Road!

  1. Scallops are a delicious frozen seafood readily available at the supermarket when shopping (you can buy fresh but it’s more pricey that way).
  2. Scallops are wild-caught and typically deep clean waters.
  3. It’s extremely high in protein and extremely low in fat. Read the label – I’m not kidding!
  4. Like lobster, shrimp crab, and clams – scallops pack a punch in terms of taste.
  5. The kicker on price – go by the 50% rule to buy double poundage. The benefit to this is that you’ll have a really full, satisfying plate – rich in taste and size. Believe me when I say that scallops this way can be incredibly tasting – the more the merrier!
  6. I would steer away from the very small scallops (i.e. small bay scallops) on this dish as it may not be filling.
  7. Cook the scallops without overcooking – they make a really nice sauce because their watery as they cook. Be on the lookout to make sure that they firm up – depending on the heat it could take five to eight minutes. You basically want them to bounce back on spoon touch, noticing some fibers inside. You do not want it to be like soft jelly (uncooked). It takes some practice.

Ingredients & Instructions:

Start the Pasta

1 pound pasta (anything at home penne, rigatoni, angel hair, etc) start boiling water on high on stove with a pinch of salt added, once boiling add pasta, and, turn down heat slightly.
1 package frozen chopped spinach if you have already in freezer if you’re not picky [or buy fresh 2 large bunches (1-2lb)] and chop well with sharp knife on cutting board – removing any long and tough stems) add to pasta the last 3-4 minutes.

Remove pasta with spinach mixture when pasta is al dente (you can test by taking out of water and running with cold water – warning do not get burned – and tasting to make sure the pasta is just cooked enough without overcooking)

Scallop sauce (**make at same time as the Pasta above – while the water is coming to boil above)

2 pounds (yes 2 lbs. since they shrink!) of scallops. If frozen: defrost from the freezer overnight in the refrigerator, or take out in AM and place in the refrigerator by noon. Prior to cooking, put scallops in a colander or in a bowl – and run cold water over.

Place pan on medium-high heat on stove.

2-4 generous tablespoons of chopped garlic, per preference (add to heated pan)
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil add to cover bottom of pan (sizzle garlic until white, watch-out not to burn)
Add in the 2 pounds of scallops. They take five to eight minutes, not to overcook, you want them springy to spoon touch and notice small fibers interconnecting inside (not soft uncooked jelly-like consistency).
Pinch Salt, Pepper and Paprika (over top)
2 lemons juiced (use a lemon juicer to remove seed or place over pan and use hands to catch seeds allowing the juice to offer your fingers at leaving the seeds behind). The key to using lemon as a sauce is to add at the very end; this way it preserves the strength and really gives it a very nice fresh lemon taste. Then eat it soon after, you will really get an incredible sauce. The taste of lemon is not overpowering but just light and fresh and just absolutely delicious with the garlic olive oil sauce.

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