Scallop Pasta with Lemon & Herbs

For the scallops
  • 8 ounces linguine noodles or other long noodles (gluten-free or legume pasta if desired)
  • 1 pound sea scallops, thawed if frozen
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
For the sauce
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus zest for serving
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, thyme, parsley, etc)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 handful baby greens (spinach or kale)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper

  1. Thaw the scallops, if frozen (see above).
  2. Cook the pasta: Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is just al dente. Start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta. (If it finishes before the sauce, add it back to the pot with a drizzle of olive oil so it doesn’t stick.)
  3. Brine the scallops (10 minutes): Meanwhile, in a shallow dish, mix together 4 cups room temperature water and 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Place the scallops in the water and wait for 10 minutes.
  4. Sear the scallops: Remove the scallops and dry thoroughly. Lightly season with a several pinches kosher salt. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. If using a medium skillet, cook the scallops in two batches. Once the oil is hot, add the scallops and cook without turning for 2 to 3 minutes, until an even brown crust clearly forms on bottom.
  5. Flip scallops with tongs. Cook additional 2 to 3 minutes on the other side, until a crust just forms on bottom and the center of the scallop is almost opaque. Remove the scallops from the skillet to a plate and turn off the heat.
  6. Make the sauce: Turn on the heat to low. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the lemon juice, minced garlic and chopped herbs. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release flavor from any browned bits stuck to the pan. Cook 1 minute until fragrant, adjusting the heat so the garlic is just sizzling but so it doesn’t brown.
  7. Add the milk, pasta, kosher salt, and greens and return the heat to medium; cook until greens are wilted. Return the scallops to the pan and cook for a few seconds until just warm. Add lots of fresh ground black pepper. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. Serve with drizzle of olive oil and lemon zest.
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