Valentine's Day

Date-Night Lemony Scallop Fettuccine

July 10, 2013
Photo by Bogre
Author Notes

Simple but elegant, not to mention a breeze to prepare, this is one of my favorite go-to dishes for any number of occasions, be it a dinner party, date night, or even just a weeknight I feel like pampering myself. With the exception of the scallops and brandy, it's composed mostly of pantry staples. It's also fun to make, especially if you have an audience, as there is flaming involved. This particular version was inspired by some fresh lemon and black pepper fettuccine I bought at D.C.'s Eastern Market yesterday. And it was, in fact, date night, so the recipe is written here as I prepared it for myself and my lady friend. You can easily scale the recipe to feed more than just you and your boo, though. —Chris Hagan

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 2-4
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2-3 scallions, sliced thinly crosswise (enough to make about a 1/2 cup); plus extra for garnish
  • 1 fresno chile or red jalapeno, seeded, and sliced in thin rounds or half-moons, or red pepper flakes to taste
  • 4 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped, divided, plus extra for garnish
  • finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon, or more to taste
  • 1/2 pound dryest possible sea scallops, sliced into half-inch rounds
  • flour for dredging
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup fish stock or clam juice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • lemon juice, to taste (start with half a lemon and adjust from there)
  • 1/2 pound fresh fettuccine (I used a lemon-black pepper one)
  • slivered toasted nori, for garnish (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously, so it tastes like the sea. Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute a minute or two until they start to get soft and golden. Add the chile, half the parsley, and the lemon zest, and continue sauteing another minute or so.
  2. Raise the heat to medium-high. Dredge the scallops lightly in flour and shake off the excess, then add them to the pan, tossing to coat them in the butter and aromatics. Saute about a minute, then add the brandy. Flame. (Or don't, and just let the alcohol cook off without the pyrotechnics. But the pyrotechnics are a lot more fun. Just sayin'.)
  3. When the flames subside, add the fish stock or clam juice and simmer a minute or two more. Cut in the remaining tbsp of butter and stir in the cream. Let simmer over medium-low heat while you cook the pasta, which should only take about two minutes if using fresh. (If using dried, drop the pasta first, and then start the sauce.)
  4. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4-1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the scallops along with the remaining parsley, the lemon juice, and some of the cooking water. Toss to combine. Let simmer together briefly. Adjust for salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve with additional parsley, sliced scallions (the green parts), slivered nori (if using), and lemon wedges for garnish.

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