Here’s what you’re gonna do…
- Get yourself a few raw sea scallops (I doled out three large ones for myself. Probably a man or a woman with a big appetite would like four or five.) In the absence of scallops, shrimp will do. Have some sort of leafy green veggies on hand: choice of the day is a fistful of the chard growing in the back yard, but fresh or frozen spinach or kale would do the job, too.
- Pull a can or jar of decent curry powder out of the pantry cupboard. If you can find some, also retrieve some variety of dry aromatic herbs, like basil, tarragon, herbes de Provence, fines herbes, or…whatever.
- While you’re there, retrieve some pasta. Just about any kind will do. I found some fettucini in the cabinet. If you prefer, substitute riced butternut squash. WhatEVER. Just haul out enough to feed the number of diners lurking around.
- Get out some olive oil and, if desired, some butter.
- Chop up a clove of garlic.
- Chop up several small ripe tomatoes or a couple of large tomatoes. Add a sprinkle of the dried herbs and, if desired, a little salt; toss these around and set aside.
- Rustle up some olive oil or butter, or what the heck…maybe even some of both.
- Get out a pan big enough to boil the pasta in.
- Got some pine nuts? Haul out a fistful.
- If you have a fresh lemon, cut it in half.
Defrost the scallops or shrimp, if necessary. Dry them on paper towels.
While the water is coming to a boil, cut up the greens to suit your taste. Personally, I like them roughly chopped but not minced — whatever pleases you, though. Place the greens in a small sieve or colandar that will fit into the pot. When the water is boiling briskly, set the colander into the hot water for a few seconds to blanche the greens. (This should turn them bright green. Not necessary to do this if you’re using frozen vegetables, which are already blanched at the factory. Just pour water over them in the colander to defrost them.)
With a pair of tongs, carefully lift the colander out of the pot and set it in the sink to drain. Run some cold tap water over the veggies to stop the cooking process and make them cool enough for you to pick up. When the water has pretty well drained out of them, spread some paper towels on the counter. Lay the blanched veggies on them, roll up, and (over the sink) squeeze the remaining water out of them. Place the colander back in the sink.
Add a little salt to the boiling water and cook the pasta therein.
Place the cooked pasta on a serving plate. Top it with about half the chopped tomatoes
Add some olive oil and the chopped garlic to the pan and return to the heat, about medium-high. Stir in the greens and add curry powder to taste.
Stir this around until the greens are sautéed to your taste. Then layer the greens over the pasta. Layer the rest of the tomatoes over the greens.
Return the pan to the medium-high heat and add a little more olive oil or some butter, as desired. When this is starting to heat up, add the scallops or shrimp. If you really like the flavor of curry, you can sprinkle a little more on them, but it’s not necessary. It’s more subtle to allow the curried veggies to flavor the shellfish. Toss in a handful of pine nuts.
Sauté the shellfish and pine nuts gently, until the scallops and shrimp are cooked but not overdone.
Arrange the cooked shellfish and pine nuts atop the second layer of tomatoes. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top.
Et voilà! An exotic and very tasty meal.
You could, in theory, add Parmesan to this, I suppose. IMHO this would not combine felicitously with curry, though. If you want cheese on it, you might try a little feta. Rice can substitute for the pasta, making it a little more “authentically” Middle Eastern. If you’re on a gluten-free or low-starch diet, pasta made from winter squash would work, as would any of the riced or spiraled vegetables you can get at Sprouts and waypoints.