As I mentioned over on my Facebook page, I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired lately. This is mainly due to the fact that we’re trying to lose a bit of weight – eating lots of vegetables, avoiding starch and alcohol, and getting more serious about running (we’re looking at another 5K in April, then our first 8K in May). We’re eating simple preparations of food for the most part: roasted vegetables, sauteed greens, lean protein, fizzy water and tea. Not much to talk about, really.
But yesterday was Brigid, also known as Imbolc, and we always have a little private celebration to observe the return of the light and what tends to feel much more like the start of a new year than “normal” New Year. I wanted a dinner that was light, non-starchy, but a little fancy and evocative of spring, and I found one in Nigella Lawson’s new book (I love Nigella, reading her is like eating potato chips for me). It’s a very simple supper for two consisting of pan-seared sea scallops and a puree of peas flavored with creme fraiche and Thai green curry paste (a take-off of British mushy peas, I assume). I added a side of roasted asparagus, which was perfect with the other flavors, and opened a bottle of rich, buttery California chardonnay.
The peas turned out really, really well – the texture was silky, and the curry paste came through very lightly, with the occasional hit of lemongrass or hot chile. If we make it again, we’ll either leave out the creme fraiche or go much lighter on it, as it was richer than it needed to be, I think. And apart from the creme fraiche, it’s an incredibly quick pantry meal – frozen peas, jarred curry paste? Easy. It could also easily be mixed with a little broth and served as a soup, or as a sauce over white fish.
The scallops were also lovely, and very simple – I mixed a little butter and oil in a pan, seared the scallops until barely done, then deglazed the pan with lime juice and poured the resulting lime butter over the scallops, dusting them with a bit of chopped cilantro. I’ve never tried this flavor approach with scallops before, but it was fantastic. I’m definitely doing this one again.
We lit all the candles in the house, turned on the fire, and felt that spring might be here soon.
Peas with Thai Curry
From Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson
- 1 lb frozen peas
- 1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1-2 Tbsp Thai green curry paste, or to taste
Cook the peas in boiling salted water until done. Put them in a blender with the other ingredients and puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning, adjust as necessary. Serve warm.