I’ve gotta tell ya, there are very few things in this world I love doing more than making a meal for, or with, a person I care about.
Very few things.
Cooking for me is my love language. I was told once in high school that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and perhaps I took that to heart.
And so I love cooking delicious things for people. (And I’m saying for…but my special gentleman is a very skilled chef in his own right, and always “mans the stove” for me, and we make a great team in the kitchen! — Not to mention his top-notch videographer skills, which you can see in the recipe videos I post every week on Instagram and Pinterest.)
And tonight’s recipe is no exception.
Introducing my Golden Scallop Rice Pilaf.
Oh my goshhhhh was it ever amazing. Seriously. It was phenomenal.
Tender, perfectly seared scallops, paired with blistered asparagus and the most flavorful, golden brown cauliflower rice that will make you sing for your supper!
And it’s gluten free, paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet friendly, and of course…keto.
But don’t be fooled by its health profile….this meal is downright delicious. Steven and I both had seconds. It was outrageous.
And SO easy and fast to make! It comes together in less than 30 minutes!
So without further ado…
Here’s What You Need: (Serves 2)
1 lb scallops
Old Bay seasoning
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 bundle of asparagus, wooden ends trimmed
1-2 Tbsp EVOO
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 green onion, sliced into thin rounds – both the green and white parts
1 bag riced cauliflower (not the frozen kind)
1 cup frozen green peas
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
3 Tbsp EVOO
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a nonstick-tinfoil lined baking sheet, toss your asparagus spears with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them out in a single layer, and bake for 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
Meanwhile, make your cauliflower rice. I used bagged raw cauliflower rice, but if you’re making your own in the food processor, it’s important to squeeze out the excess liquid — you do this by placing the cauliflower rice in a clean kitchen towel – or paper towels – and wringing out the rice before you cook it. You’ll be amazed at how much liquid comes out. This step prevents mushy cauliflower rice…no one wants that.
In your largest, nonstick pan, saute your shallot, garlic, and the white parts of your green onion in 2-3 Tbsp EVOO, salt and pepper for about 3 minutes, until the shallots are translucent. Add your cauliflower rice and Old Bay Seasoning, and mix well. Let that cook for about 3 minutes. Then, add the green parts of your green onions, and frozen green peas. Stir to combine. Cook until the frozen peas have just become bright green. Then remove from heat, and transfer to a platter or large plate, so that the cauliflower rice can cool and not become soggy.
Next: the scallops.
To cook the scallops: you want them to be bone dry. So after you rinse them, put them on a paper towel, and dry them completely with another paper towel. Sprinkle the one side with Old Bay seasoning, pepper and drizzle with olive oil. *Old Bay has salt in the spice mixture, so you don’t need to add more.*
You want your pan to be very hot. (Stainless steel works great, here!) Add about 3-4 Tbsp Olive oil or avocado oil to a large pan. Heat until right before it starts smoking. Then starting at the “12 o’clock” position, place your scallops (seasoning side-down) one by one clockwise around the pan, being careful not to crowd the pan. Once they are all placed in, let them sear untouched for 1:45. (Set a timer, it goes fast!) During this time, sprinkle the other side with more Old Bay seasoning.
Then, using tongs, start again at the 12 o’clock position and flip each scallop going clock wise.
Set another timer and let cook for another 1:30.
After a minute and 30 seconds, take them off the pan and put on a plate to rest. (Otherwise they will continue to cook on the pan.) Drizzle with the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Serve immediately.
To plate, place a mound of the cauliflower rice on your plate. Top with half of the asparagus spears, and half of the seared scallops. Garnish with any remaining green onions.
OH MY GOSH. This meal was absolutely phenomenal! Steven and I both went back for more of the cauliflower rice, it was just so dang delicious! Honestly, it’s the Old Bay seasoning that really brought it over the top. It’s not spicy by any stretch of the imagination, but it does have a bit of a cajun kick to it. We’re talking FLAVOR CITY! And by seasoning all of the cauliflower rice with it, it really gave it this, almost addicting quality to it — we just couldn’t get enough!
And when you nearly undercook the cauliflower rice…it’s texturally perfect. I’m going to be honest: there’s a bit of a “break point” of when cauliflower goes from AMAZING, to mushy. And you want to avoid the mushy phase at all costs. Not that it’s gross, per se…but it’s not the same beautiful mouth feel that comes from that golden brown, still-has-its-textural-integrity phase of when you nearly undercook it.
And the scallops. My, my, my. We love scallops because A) they’re the cheapest option at our local fish monger…(I know, which is crazy, because growing up that was always the OPPOSITE.) B) They are SUPER fast and easy to whip up…we’re talking a total cooking time of under five minutes…can’t beat that. And C) they’re just plain succulent.
Lastly…we can’t sleep on the asparagus. Now look, I know it’s just a vegetable, but when cooked in the oven like this, it’s truly outrageous. It’s Steven and my favorite side dish. I made them once for my parents when I was home, and they were floor by how delicious they were. Because they become almost crispy. By flipping them, you’re allowing every surface area to come in contact with the hot surface, and caramelize…aka: releasing its natural sugars, and becoming golden brown and almost nutty. When I toss them with the oil before baking, I really take my time to individually coat each spear…especially the tops, because that’s where they get the most crispy and delicious. I mean, just look at that picture.
So do yourself a favor and MAKE THIS 30-MINUTE MEAL! It is so healthy, so delicious, and so gorgeous! It will be sure to impress any guest!
Until tomorrow 🙂
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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