While away on vacation in South Florida, I thought about many things. As the incipient pondered dying her hair bright red, my mind seized on all matters mahi mahi, and I wondered why I so rarely see it outside of the Sunshine State. As bacon girl demanded more time with me in the pool, I pondered the question of key lime pie, which transformed in my brain from an overrated show horse dessert to an underrated pleasure, especially when made with the proper crust.
Shop the Story
As our little tram glided soundlessly through the Everglades, we happened upon numerous large alligators, which caused us to shiver a little with their insidious smirks, and the shattering sound of their jaws as they snapped, not unlike a fired glock. While others around me wondered about the wisdom of turtles, who lay their eggs in the crocodilian’s nest, I could think only of the time my father-in-law introduced me to fried alligator over our first dinner out in Texas. (It wasn’t really like chicken. More like a tater tot.)
And the next thing I knew, I was back, and standing at the grocery store, thinking about dinner. Seafood, friends. That’s all I want now, people. It feels clean and light, it tastes of the beach. Are you ready to toss aside your skirt steaks for a minute and get with me in the sand?
If so, may I suggest you check out mommiecooks’s Baked and Breaded Scallops. What’s fun about this dish is that it has the soul and character of a casserole, with none of the work or cooking time. I made this recipe with a pound-and-a-half of large scallops, and increased the rest of the ingredients just a tad. (Our author, mommiecooks, appears to have used bay scallops, but sea scallops were all that were available to me this week.)
After you give those pale white guys a nice pat with the paper towel, set them into the lemon juice and butter in your baking dish as instructed. I don’t really know what lemon pepper is, so I just used lemon zest and a generous heap of black pepper, along with the garlic powder. I chopped the macadamia nuts by hand, but that’s only because the blade on my second Krups spice and coffee grinder seemed to have stopped working, a situation that enrages me only slightly less than people who let their dog do their business in my azaleas, or those who do not understand that as a provisional matter, I always have the right of way in a D.C. traffic circle.
Anyway, don’t do that. Use the food processor.
Dump your dry mix on the scallops, set your oven timer for 20 minutes and remove these babies immediately when it dings. Chances are they will be done. These scallops were a huge hit in my house, served with a little broccoli to feel virtuous. My husband did say that he didn’t love the texture, and thought they would benefit from a little pan searing first. I was too stunned by this comment to really ponder its culinary viability.
Grab a 9×9 inch pan and add your melted butter and lemon juice to it.
Now add your scallops on top of the lemon butter and spread them around the pan evenly.
In a separate bowl, mix together your crushed nuts, panko, salt, garlic powder, and lemon pepper.
Pour the mixture over the top of the scallops and pop them in the oven set to 350 for about 25 minutes.
By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).