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Seared scallops with green lentil and salad

We were driving down the road a few weeks ago during a day
of shopping and sundry tasks when my daughters started discussing
alliteration.  I laughed to myself
as they discussed the many facets that comprise both sides of the argument of
whether one should employ this literary technique in their writing.

Known to alliterate myself on occasion I started in the
conversation with a question. 
"What worldly woe prevents proper penning?"  It was easy to see that the laughs were
courteous at best, stifled more by the groans of agony arising from my passengers.

I continued, "What about the letter P?"  They looked confused.  "The letter P is my favorite
letter for alliteration. Take python, for example, or psychology and
pterodactyl, philosophy, and let us not forget pneumatic.  Paul is practicing palpable prose!"

More grunts of discontent made their way forward with maybe
a few appreciative laughs.  There
was no way to differentiate between the two.   The car went
silent as we drove on and I could not discern whether it was a moment for pause
and reflection or silence in the hope of not encouraging me to continue.  I guess I will never know.

Driving in the relative quiet, disturbed only by the purring
of the minivan’s engine, I reflected on what just happened.  My children were discussing
alliteration.  That’s pretty
cool.  In a day and age when more
kids are talking about disturbing shows like Breaking Bad (and don’t get me started on why parents are letting
their kids watch that show) than their schoolwork, it was refreshing to hear a
somewhat intelligent conversation amongst the younger generation.

Tired from a long day of pseudo-intellectualism, chores and
driving, we returned home where I decided to make one of my favorite dinners;
Scallops on French Lentils.  The
day was warm but the night is already starting to take on a bit of chill.  This is truly the greatest time of
year; shorts all day and sweatshirts at night, and if we have enough time, a bonfire.

Pulling out the dry scallops, it was time to get to
work.  When you buy scallops, go
out of your way to buy ‘dry’.  Have
you ever purchased large scallops and then cooked them to the size of a dime or
small button?  That is because they
were ‘wet’ scallops, meaning that they were injected with brine to make them
weigh more.  As you cook them, you
are merely cooking out the salt water and returning the mighty scallop to its
unimpressive size.

When I make this dish I combine the sweet scallops with salty
country ham.  These top creamy
lentils and then I serve the whole mess with a crisp asparagus, tomato and
onion salad.  It fits the bill for
a late summer, early autumn dinner.

And as I cook our dinner I muse merrily at my meal.  Drat those kids.  Now I can’t stop alliterating.  Well, at least I can drown my sorrows
in some sweet and salty scallops; seriously.

Seared Scallops on Lentils

serves 4

16 ea. Large dry

Salt & Pepper, as

2 Tbsp. Brown butter
(recipe follows)

1 Tbsp. EV Olive oil

4 oz. country ham,
julienne and fried

1/4 c, Dry white wine

Pat your scallops with a towel and season

Heat a sauté pan and add your butter and oil

Sear the scallops on a high heat until you have
a nice crust on the first side

Turn them over with a fish spatula or palette
knife and cook until the scallops are barely under-done

Remove from the pan and deglaze with 1/4 c. Dry
white wine

Drizzle this over the scallops

When ready for service, place on the lentils and
top with fried julienne country ham and serve with the vegetable salad

French Green Lentils

1 c. Green lentils

1 1/2 c. chicken
stock, unsalted

1/4 c. Dry white wine

1/2 ea. Red onion,
finely diced

2 clove mashed garlic

1 ea. Bay leaf

Salt & Pepper as

butter, as needed

Place everything except the butter in a saucepan
and bring to a simmer

Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes until most of
the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender

When done, add some chunks of butter and blend

Adjust the seasoning and keep warm until service

Tomato, Asparagus & Onion Salad

serves 4

1 ea. Large beefsteak
tomato, wedged

1 bunch fresh
asparagus, trimmed, blanched and chilled

1 ea. Vidalia sweet
onion, julienne

2 sprigs fresh thyme,

1/4 c. EV Olive oil

Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano,
as needed

Good red wine
vinegar, to taste

Toss the ingredients in the olive oil and
vinegar and season with salt and pepper

Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 10
minutes before serving, but don’t let it go much longer than 30 minutes