Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sea Scallops and Tomato Compote, Served Over Polenta

A few weeks ago Nick and I had our friends Michelle and Sean over for dinner. I've never been much for throwing nice dinner parties, but I really had fun this time and I tried not to take it too seriously. Our kitchen/dining area is very small, but it worked out just fine. Our table was the perfect size for four people. The appetizer in the middle of the table was bruschetta (store bought, I'll admit!). For dinner I made sea scallops with a tomato compote. I got the recipe from a local grocery store, but had to make some modifications because I do not eat onions or garlic.

Sea Scallops and Tomato Compote, Served Over Polenta

(Serves 4)

1 1/4 lbs. sea scallops
2 T olive oil (** I used 2 T Smart Balance butter blend sticks**)
1 small onion, chopped (** I used red peppers **)
1 clove garlic, crushed (** I used 2 tsp cumin **)
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
1 T red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
Microwave polenta

1. In 12-inch skillet, heat 1 T oil on medium heat until hot.
2. Add onion (red pepper for me!) and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until soft and golden, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in garlic (cumin for me!); cook 1 minute
4. Add tomatoes with juice, vinegar, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper
5. Heat to boiling on medium-high
6. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
7. Stir in olives; transfer tomato compote to bowl; cover to keep warm
8. Meanwhile, prepare Microwave polenta (read directions on your polenta mix to see how much to make)

9. Remove and discard tough crescent-shaped muscle from each scallop
10. Dry with paper towels (dry well).
11. Evenly season scallops, on both sides, with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper
12. In 12 inch skillet, heat remaining oil on medium-high heat until hot.
13. Add scallops and cook 5 minutes or until opaque throughout and lightly browned on both sides.
14. Serve with tomato compote and polenta

Everyone loved this! I was so proud :) Seriously, it tasted amazing. I could have easily consumed two plates full, but I was too busy drinking wine and making room for dessert. The dessert was simple, just an angel food cake served with gelato and fresh strawberries. I forgot to take a picture, so instead I will show you a picture of the chocolate chunk low-fat ice cream I made the other day!

Question: What was the last delicious meal you made for someone other than just yourself??

By the way, today is Sunday and I am actually not at work! I took this day off because I'm going shopping for some clothes and shoes with my very good friend Cathy. I'm officially sick of my clothes and I'll admit I still wear some clothes from high school!! Hey, they still look good, why not?!
Have a great day everyone!


  1. looks like the meal turned out great - Oh and I totally wear clothes from high school as well :) In fact I'm in a sweatshirt right now that I got second-hand in high school :)

  2. That's pretty impressive that your clothes from high school are still in a good shape. I do have a few things but overall I really did not have an adult body back then so I'm not sure my hs clothes would really fit me anymore.

    This meal looks delicious. I have to bring sea scallops back in my life again. I used to cook them all the time a few years ago and then I forgot about them a bit!

  3. Woo, amazing dinner! I love that scallop dish, scallop is my second favorite seafood aft octopus and i always order that when i eat out. I need to try to cook it at home! :)
    I love hosting meals for my friends, the last one was the five course meal, i felt really accomplished! :)
    Have fun shopping!

  4. I'll go to a diner party at your house anytime, Gina! Looks like you threw a perfect one, with yummy scallops and a simple dessert. Store-bought bruschetta is delicious - I just tried some recently and it was better than any that I've ever make :P Besides, when you're having a dinner party, you want to have fun with your guests, not be a slave to the kitchen. I've used many a store-bought item myself!

    I've never thought of cumin as a substitute for garlic, but I love cumin and I'll bet it was fantastic with the scallops!

    Have a great Sunday, Gina! Enjoy shopping!

  5. I really enjoy having dinner parties but our apartment is small to have one. Your party looked great!

    I make a really good risotto. It is seriously pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. :)

  6. This sounds so great! Like a restaurant-styled dinner party! I love dinner parties, but yes, they can definitely be stressful. And usually it's only the cook who truly understands this. Looks like it turned out great though!

  7. WOW! That looks absolutely stunning - I'm a sucker for any type of shellfish, and when you add tomatoes and garlic - what could be better! I'm sure your guests were delighted!

    Thank you for sharing, I have a TON of calamari to use up and this recipe needs so few ingredients, I'm keeping it on hand!

    Now I just have to get some canned tomatoes....

  8. Scallops and polenta are two of my favorite foods, I'm definitely going to have to try this recipe! :)

  9. Love your polenta and scallops.... Simple and tasty -my kind of food.

  10. Yum! That dinner looks amazing!
    The last meal that I cooked for others was a really simple chicken tacos. I am working on keeping it simple!

  11. Hooray! Congrats on the fantastic dinner... it all really looks amazing! Just out of curiosity - what wine did you pair with it?

    And I am so glad I am not the only one with REALLY old clothes. My favorite pair of shorts to this day is one I got in the summer between 7th and 8th grade - IN 1987!!! :)

  12. Looks like a wonderful dinner! I've actually been really craving scallops lately for some reason. Sounds like a fab dessert too :)

  13. Looks like you did a great job with dinner! :) Is the recipe for the chocolate ice cream posted? I'd love to duplicate it!

  14. I am dating this fella and he said "where's that come from..."
    Um...the mid 90s?
    And if you don't like it, you can leave...

    He didn't say anything except "killer..." and we laughed.

  15. This meal looks amazing! I am sure your dinner guests were super impressed!
    I love having dinner parties but haven't done one in so long. I really should!

  16. I seriously need to go shopping. My pants are getting so worn out!

    What a fun dinner to serve. The ice cream looks out of this world!

    The last meal I made for someone else? Hmmmm I won't include my husband here. It was probably a beet, mung bean, potato and pea salad but that seemed like so long ago. My memory is leaving me!

  17. oh!! what an awesome dinner party that you threw! deej was just asking me about polenta the other day and i couldn't really describe it to her haha i should just refer her to you ;)

    hope you had fun shopping!! thats a perfect reason to take the day from work!

  18. What a beautiful meal, Gina! Lucky guests of yours! I love delicious! And :)

    I hope you enjoyed your Sunday off shopping!!

  19. Yums can I come over for din din? The scallops look so juicy!

  20. I saw your comment on my destination wedding post over at Kelly's blog and I thought I would pop over and answer your questions!

    In terms of dealing with asking people to pay so much for our wedding - in reality it ended up being cheaper for people to attend a Mexican wedding than one in Canada so it wasn't that big an issue. But we did go out of our way to make sure people had a choice as to where they stayed . . . and that's why we didn't choose an all inclusive.

    The catch with all inclusive weddings is that although the price to the couple is cheaper, the cost to the guests can be more expensive. When we went to go look at venues they wanted over $200/pp/day. I couldn't bring myself to ask people to pay that much.

    Also, with all inclusives you generally have to guarantee that a certain number of guests will stay at the resort. And if they don't they have to pay (read - the couple has to pay) for a day pass to allow them to attend any wedding activities. In some cases those passes can even be $100!!!

    In our case, we chose a resort that allowed people to attend the wedding events if they weren't staying at the same place. That way people were able to choose the type of vacation experience that suited them.

    Most of our close family and friends stayed at our wedding resort, one of our guests stayed at a total hippie beach joint, and yet some more couples stayed at an all inclusive.

    Allowing people flexibility meant that we never got complaints about price.

    And in terms of people not being able to attend, we didn't hold an at home reception. All along we were clear that we would only hold one wedding reception - and that it would be in Mexico. People were okay with that! :o)

    As far as choosing vendors - I specifically chose a resort that would allow me to pick whomever I wanted. Some resorts have their list of vendors and don't let you stray from that.

    In our case, we hired our dream wedding photographers and cinematographers . . . neither of which were Mexican. Had our resort not allowed us to choose our own image vendors we would have gone elsewhere.

    In terms of price I should add that I don't want to mislead you on the cost of the wedding . . . our photographer, cinematographer, wedding attire, and invitations were extra. By the time everything was said and done the wedding ran us closer to what most couples spend in the US or Mexico.

    But we could have done it much cheaper! We just chose to splurge on images! :o)

    Anywho - sorry this is so long but if you have any more questions feel free to stop by my blog!

  21. Well done. I made a scallop dish last week (scallops, lime, cilantro, garlic, olive oil) that I go back to time and time again. Your dinner party dish looks great, I adore polenta- such a total comfort food.

  22. I love throwing dinner parties - so much fun! :-) I'm super impressed that you fixed scallops - I confess that while I adore them I've always been daunted by making them myself! Now that you've shown me this gorgeous recipe perhaps I can be brave! :-) WOW, your dish is beautiful!!! Bon Appetit May cover, here you go! :-) Seriously amazing...

    Your comment about your clothes made me so happy... :-) I still wear clothes from high school (and lots of clothes from college) too! Just like you said, they still fit and they're still good quality, so I keep wearing them! :-) I'm so glad I'm not the only one! :-) But I too have decided that some new clothes would be fun for this spring... :-) I'm getting board with these same shirts and pants! :-)