Friday, February 20, 2009



This is a quick and easy one I came up with over the summer but never shared because I had already done something else with shrimp and scallops. Enough time has passed now for it not to seem monotonous. It's what I'll toss together for Steve's sister and her husband for dinner tonight.

The only thing you might find questionable is the fennel. Some people find the anise flavor overpowering and don't like it. To me, it just adds a sweetness that consorts well with the seafood. Since fennel tends to be seasonal, you may not find it if you're up here where it's cold and you run out today to look for it. Leave it out according to taste or what you find in the store. But I hope you'll try it if you can. I thought it was important enough to include in the name of the dish, so.....(A good substitute is cabbage sliced razor-thin. It adds the same sweetness and disappears into the sauce, just adding depth.)

1 lb. fettucini or other flat, ribbon-style pasta

1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb. scallops, preferably bay scallops. If only large sea scallops are available, cut into bite-size chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb, stalks removed, bulb sliced thin
1 large shallot, sliced into half-moons
peeled and crushed fresh garlic to taste
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
½ cup coarsely chopped basil
¼ cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup dry vermouth

Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions.

Pat shrimp and scallops dry (drain scallops on paper towels for a few minutes if necessary to make them dry as possible. Otherwise they won't brown).

Heat oil in large, deep skillet or wok over highest heat until shimmering and add shrimp, toss until just opaque and set aside. Return pan temperature to highest heat and add scallops in a single layer, do not move for 2 minutes, or until slightly browned. After browning, toss scallops another 2 minutes, or until just done, then set aside with shrimp.

Add more oil to pan if necessary and heat until shimmering. Add fennel and cook until carmelization begins, about 3 minutes. Add shallot and cook one minute, then add garlic and heat until fragrant. Add olives, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and parsley and cook for two or three minutes just to take rawness off the herbs. Add reserved shrimp and scallops and adjust salt and pepper.

Add vermouth and cook over high heat until vermouth is completely evaporated. Toss with cooked pasta. Serve, pass Parmesan.


Anonymous said...

I gotta try this one. Yummy!

Cuidado said...

Sounds good, Ralph. Always nice to see something new with seafood.

Nan said...

Sounds delicious. I wonder how it would be with stir-fried udon noodles? I hope to try this some time, if I'm not too lazy.

Ralph said...

Nan: udon noodles: why not? There's not much work to this except some chopping. It took me about 15 minutes to toss the whole thing together toniht, including cooking the pasta.

Peewit said...

I would be inclined to go with the noodles, and replace the fennel with cabbage and some star anise but then that's the pasta hater talking!

Ralph said...

You and your noodles, Peewit! Actually, the star anise may be too strong a flavor unless you're really after it. The fennel jsut gives a seeet and slightly piquant undertone, but licorice isn't there.

Ralph said...

Z&M, you nay want to brighten it up a bit with a little lemon juice or a tablespoon or so of tomato paste. It was good last night but needed a bit of that effect, I thought. (Everybody else loved it just as it was.)