This Valentine's Day, take a pass on the expected. As in, ditch the restaurant reservations. You're just going to get overcharged for so-so food, anyway.
Instead, stay home and show your lover how much you care by assembling this simple — but impressive — baked scallop dinner. The beauty is that this recipe — which bathes scallops in a cream sauce and tops them with crispy panko breadcrumbs — is easily prepped up to 24 hours ahead, then refrigerated until you are ready to serve.
When you are ready for romance, just heat the oven to 400 F and pop the individual servings in for about 10 minutes. The result is impressive enough that you won't miss the restaurant experience even a little. Just add some crusty bread and a salad and you'll have a complete meal.
BAKED BAY SCALLOPS WITH LEMON GARLIC CREAM
Start to finish: 30 minutes
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups (16 ounces) bay scallops, cleaned (any tough muscles removed)
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, butter, a pinch of salt and the Parmesan. In another small bowl, combine the thyme, garlic, lemon zest, a hefty pinch of black pepper and the cream.
Divide the bay scallops between 2 individual gratin dishes. Pour half of the cream mixture over each dish of scallops, then sprinkle each evenly with the breadcrumbs. At this point, the scallops can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 24 hours or baked immediately.
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 400 F. Place the gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cream is bubbling all over and the crumbs are browned.
Nutrition information per serving: 510 calories; 270 calories from fat (53 percent of total calories); 31 g fat (19 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 155 mg cholesterol; 1100 mg sodium; 26 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 32 g protein.
The Associated Press