I admit it.
There are nights when I want nothing to do with my fridge, stove, oven or any appliance that will assist in the production of a home cooked meal. I figure if I am cooking significantly more than we are “taking out”, then it’s only fair that I throw up the white flag on occasion and ask for a hall pass.
Just because I don’t want to cook; however, doesn’t mean I want to go out for a super gourmet meal either. A restaurant with a nice atmosphere, good food and service is all I ask.
Burtons Grill is a small chain with 10 locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Virginia and South Carolina. Two are in neighboring towns to us and convenient to get to, even at the last minute. The restaurant has a large bar, plenty of seating and a menu that has something for everyone.
This recipe for Pan Seared Scallops with Corn and Bacon was inspired by a dish my husband ordered from the “Lighter Fare” section of Burtons dinner menu (note – not sure they still have this section of the menu any longer). A combination of fresh corn, red pepper, jalapeno pepper and smoky bacon are sauteed in a little bit of butter and serve as the colorful bed for pan seared scallops. The dish at Burtons looked so delicious that I thought it might be easy to duplicate at home.
In my version, I cut the kernals directly off the fresh cobs which results in an al dente texture to the corn, even after sauteing for 10 minutes. I like that, but if you want your corn to be softer, you can blanch the cobs for 2 minutes in boiling water and then cut the kernals off the cob. I also added some scallions for a little hint of onion flavor and some fresh basil.
This dish comes together very quickly and is perfect for a night when you want to eat a little “lighter”. I think it would be a great meal to entertain with as you could make the corn ahead, leave it at room temperature and saute the scallops right before serving. If you do that, it’s best to leave the crispy bacon pieces aside and toss them with the corn at the last minute so they do not get soggy.
For purposes of keeping this a “light” recipe, I’ve allowed 3 large scallops per person, but you can increase that to 5 scallops for bigger appetites.
See? Sometimes leaving the kitchen behind is a way to find inspiration to get you back into it! At least, that’s what I tell myself. Wink, wink.
Raw scallops with the muscle still attached on top…
Now the muscle has been removed and the scallop is ready to be floured…
The trick to good color is to cook the scallops over medium-high heat and to leave them alone in the pan until they are ready to flip (2 minutes). You don’t want to move them around, just sear one side and flip to sear the other side. They are done quickly and can go from succulent to rubber if overcooked! A cast iron pan works really well here.
Finished scallops on their bed of corn and bacon…
Or horizontal? It all tastes the same – delish!
What is your go-to restaurant when you just want a casual meal and a night off from the kitchen? Please let me know in the comments!