We have been so busy with the promotion of An American Family Cooks that our meals have been a little haphazard – a pizza here, rice and beans (from our favorite Flor de Mayo on Amsterdam Avenue) there, a throw-together sandwich at the end of a long day have been too frequently on the table. I promised Steve a quiet, indulgent, sit-down dinner and since fall had officially arrived with a bit of a chill in the air, it seemed time to get back to work in the kitchen.
Here’s what I put together. Mashed sweet potatoes (mashed with a bit of butter and a touch of honey), sautéed spinach and mushrooms, and deliciously sweet Nantucket Bay scallops. For the scallops, I placed about ½ cup of diced pancetta in a nonstick frying pan and cooked it until all of the fat had rendered out and I had a pan full of little crispy nuggets. I scooped the nuggets from the pan and left a bit of the fat in. I added the scallops which I had tossed in Wondra flour and seasoned with salt and pepper. Gave them a quick flip around the pan to color slightly and set. Removed them from the pan and added a little white wine and lemon juice. Brought it to a boil and then whisked in a little pat of butter. When slightly thick, I returned the pancetta to the pan and instantly had a lovely sauce for the plate. We sat down to a quiet, indulgent dinner with a chilled bottle of Sancerre to quaff. A lovely fall dinner, indeed.