A few days ago we were in upstate New York spending a couple of days with our wonderful friends, Bee and Doug. I was on dinner duty with 3 packs of frozen scallops and whatever I could fend from our not insignificant pantry. I wasn’t too sure about the scallops – although I’m sure most of what we buy in our fancy neighborhood fish store have probably been frozen and thawed – but as it turned out they were quite delicious. But, that’s not the story.
The weather was not really very spring-like – in fact, big flakes of snow filled the air off and on all day – but Mother Nature had begun her work a few weeks ago when the temperatures hit the 80s – a rarity in summer in the country – and the countryside was rife with daffodils, grape hyacinths, some tulips, wild strawberries spreading in the grass with their delicate little white flowers peeking up—- and the window boxes, although moved inside, had verdant bunches of basil, sage, thyme, and parsley – no rosemary – that was in the winter-over corner where it has managed to survive through 3 winters.
Bee took our man’s best friend, Lena Mae, out for her constitutional and came back with a handful of sweet wild purple and yellow violets and 2 stalks of asparagus (the only 2 big enough to pick). So, I cooked up those scallops – dusted them with Wondra flour and salt and pepper and gave them a fast and furious sear in clarified butter – layered them on some couscous cooked in lemon/sage scented broth, drizzled the lot with a tangy lemon vinaigrette and garnished the plate with slivered raw asparagus and those little violets. Added a side of sautéed julienne of carrots and snow peas and Viola an easy and spring-like dinner was on the table in minutes.