For Pat — what I did with the Christmas smoked scallops

I didn’t get an image of the scallops before we gobbled them up but here’s one of Dora on Christmas morning, sharing breakfast with a friend.

I usually credit whatever web site I find a recipe on, but I missed that this time, also changed a few things like amount of liquid. Recipe called for 2 cups baby arugula but there was not a leaf available in Mocksville so I substituted 2 cups chopped baby spinach, and it was just fine. Original recipe says to save 1/4 cup pasta water, but I didn’t need it. Dish had plenty of liquid without it. Also, recipe called for 1 pound fresh scallops. I had a half pound of smoked sea scallops that Dora the Explorer brought home for the holidays from her Annapolis farm collective. The stronger taste imparted by the smoking meant the smaller amount was plenty.

Cook 1 cup orzo*** according to package directions. Drain and mix with 2 tablespoons butter, zest of one (large lemon), half juice from that lemon, salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet. Sprinkle scallops with more salt and pepper and sear in hot oil, you don’t want to toughen them by overcooking. Remove scallops to paper towel and add two minced garlic cloves to hot oil. Stir so they don’t burn and as soon as they begin to brown, add 1/2 cup good white wine (I found a really good Chardonnay in the refrigerator that someone also left at Christmas — who knew?). Scrape up any brown bits from the skillet and add another 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained, the rest of the lemon juice. Reduce by half.

Add arugula (spinach) and 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes to orzo. Serve scallops in “sauce” on top with chopped fresh parsley sprinkled over. Four generous servings.

***For anyone who doesn’t know, orzo is a rice-shaped and -sized pasta available in most supermarket pasta selections.

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