This recipe’s origin is near and dear to my heart, as it was the first thing my sweetheart, a 5th generation Nantucket fisherman, ever cooked for me. His rendition (complete with jarred alfredo sauce and store bought Texas toast) is faster, easier, and just as delicious, but I like the transparency of using simple cream, fresh garlic, lemon and local bread for my version. Whichever recipe you use, the only rule is that there IS NO SUBSITUTION for Nantucket Bay Scallops! I hope you try this simple and easy dish and support your local fishery while you do!
1 lb Nantucket bay scallops, rinsed, patted dry
1 lb thin spaghetti or linguine
1 pint heavy cream
2 cloves garlic minced or grated on a microplane
the juice and zest of one lemon
1 – 1 1/2 C cherry tomatoes, halved
one glug of white wine
freshly grated parmesan, salt and pepper, ground anise or fennel seed to taste
In a small sauce pan, bring heavy cream to a boil, reduce until there’s 1 cup. Be careful not to let it boil over. When the cream is well reduced, turn off heat and add 1 tablespoon lemon zest.
Cook pasta in seasoned water to al dente. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick sauce pan (large enough to toss the pasta and sauce in,) over high heat. Add a tiny amount of oil and add bay scallops to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and let the scallops cook one to two minutes, undisturbed, until slightly opaque and browned on one side. Set aside.
Wipe out pan and return to stove. Once hot, add a touch of oil or butter and add cherry tomatoes, season and cook undisturbed to encourage browning, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, ground fennel seed or anise, if using, and cook for another 30 seconds until fragrant. Deglaze tomatoes with a good glug (about a half cup) of quality white wine. Whatever you’re drinking works great.
Let the wine reduce to about half, then add your cooked pasta RIGHT FROM THE POT (do not drain) into the sauce pan. Add in the reduced lemon cream, a good squeeze from half a lemon, parmesan and 1-2 cups pasta water to loosen the pasta. Toss the sauce, tomatoes and pasta until the sauce becomes glossy. Don’t worry if the sauce looks really loose, it will thicken like crazy as it cools. Add the scallops and whatever juice they have leached out to the pasta and toss for another 45 seconds. Served right away with extra grated parmesan and local sourdough toasted and rubbed with more garlic. Buon Appetito!
recipe by Leah Mojer