Crispy Rice with Shrimp, Bacon and Corn

When I posted this to Instagram, with an invitation to come to dinner, I had quite a few people accept my invitation; some even wanted the recipe.  It came from the New York Times, and was written by Genevieve Ko; however, I have modified it slightly as I’m making it for two.  Modifications are in the recipe below.  Serves 4 amply, especially if served with fresh ciabatta bread (or take-n-bake, whatever works for you).


1/2  pound peeled and deveined shrimp, patted very dry
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4-5  strips bacon
2  ears uncooked corn
6  scallions
pinch of red pepper flakes
1  pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
2-3  cups cooked rice — I used a mixture of brown rice and white rice


Prepare the shrimp by rinsing in cool water, and removing any shells.  Lay out on paper towels to dry; blot with another paper towel.  Grind salt and pepper over one side of the shrimp.  Set it aside for now.

Cut tomatoes in half; set aside.  Trim off ends of scallions (green onions), then slicely thinly on an angle, using nearly all of the green tops.  Reserve a healthy handful of green tops for garnish, and set the sliced scallions aside.  Slice the kernels off the cobs of corn; reserve.

Lay bacon strips out in heavy skillet over med-high heat, and cook until nearly crispy, turning as needed.  Remove strips to a plate covered with paper towels to cool.  Layer more paper towels on top.

Sprinkle a pinch of red pepper flakes in the hot bacon grease, then add the shrimp, stirring for one to two minutes per side, or until just cooked.  Using a slotted spoon, remove from grease and lay atop the paper towels that are on top of the bacon.

Keeping the heat on medium-high, add the corn, most of the scallions, and a pinch of salt to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the scallions just wilt, about 1 minute.

Add the rice and stir until well-mixed and heated through, about 3 minutes. Press the rice evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Let cook, without stirring, as the rice and corn begin to crackle, until you smell a toasty scent and the rice browns, about 5 minutes. You can lift up a section of rice to peek and see if a golden brown crust has developed.

Layer on the bed of rice/corn, in this order:
•  halved tomatoes
•  cooked shrimp
•  crumbled bacon
•  handful of green scallion tops for garnish

With heat off, cover with a lid for about 2-3 minutes, letting the steam from the rice/corn soften the tomatoes.  Remove the lid to serve.

Note: While I realize that putting the lid on for too long might soften your “crust,” in our case, it did not.  We could still taste the crunch.  We stored the leftovers in the refrigerator and had them four days later; it was still amazing.

Corn and Shrimp Soup

After doing lesson prep for my classes for so long that my eyes hurt, I wandered downstairs to figure out dinner.  It was a colder day, the first not-hot day we’ve had this fall and some rain was falling here and there all afternoon.  I wanted something warm for dinner, but not heavy.  Something traditional but with a bit of kick.  The soup cookbook fell out and after looking through it I chose a recipe to start in on.  But I took a huge turn off their recipe highway onto something wholly my own.  We enjoyed it and I hope you will too.  Oh, that red pepper?  It’s for looks.  You leave it in, but to add some heat, use Sriracha sauce at the table.

Although this looks complicated, get everything ready at the beginning as it goes together quickly.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 1/2 sweet bell peppers (I used 1 red and 1/2 yellow), chopped
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (or put through a garlic press)
2 stalks lemon grass
2 dried red pepper pods (more if you want more heat)
2 knuckle-sized chunks of fresh ginger
about 2 cups white frozen corn (can add more at the end if you like your soup with more “stuff”)
1 lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed and drained
2 cans chicken broth (14 oz each)
1 can coconut milk (about 14 oz.)
1 Tablespoon sugar
juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
pinch or two of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Melt butter and oil together in heavy soup-sized pan, saute peppers, shallot and garlic for 2-3 minutes.  Add chicken stock, broken-in-half lemon grass stalks, dried red peppers and the pieces of ginger.  Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Add in the shrimp and corn.  Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Fish out lemon grass and ginger.  Add sugar, lime juice, pinch of red pepper flakes, and cilantro.

Add coconut milk.  Adjust seasonings (add more salt?) and serve with Sriracha (Rooster) sauce at the table.

Note: I keep lemon grass stalks in my freezer.  I simply smacked them over the edge of the counter to break them in half, then threw them in.  Ditto the ginger (for keeping it in the freezer), but tonight I set it on a cutting board, and lopped off one of its chunks to throw in.

Scallops with Peppers and Corn

It had been a long, hot day and I didn’t feel like throwing a meal on the table.  I had earlier found this recipe in my new favorite publication: Sunset’s Fast and Fresh (go and get it) and knew I had the basic ingredients. I only had to find corn.  Corn?  No problem, right?  It’s summer–corn is cheap, right?  Wrong.  I must have hit the week that all the corn was shipped to China, or that the first harvest was finished and the second hadn’t begun.  I gave my money to the lady at the register, thinking it was the most expensive ears of corn I’d ever purchased.  Note to self: make this dish when corn is on sale.

At any rate, make a note to yourself: make this dish anytime.  They suggest serving it with couscous, pasta or rice, but somehow I had boiled New England supper on my mind, with the combo of the seafood, vegetables and corn.  We served ours with boiled white rose potatoes. I placed those in our individual bowls, cut them up, then over that spooned the vegetable mixture, and then the scallops.  It was delicious, easy and refreshing.


3 ears corn (about 2 1/2 lb. total), husked, silks removed
1 1/4 pounds sea scallops
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red bell peppers rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (I used three: one yellow, one orange and one red)
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. Holding each ear of corn upright in a deep bowl, cut kernels from cobs. Rinse scallops and pat dry; sprinkle lightly all over with salt and pepper.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in each of two 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pans over high heat. Add corn, bell peppers, garlic, and cumin to one pan; add scallops to the other. Cook, stirring both pans often, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes, and scallops are browned on the outside and barely opaque in the center (cut to test), about 5 minutes.

3. Just before serving, stir basil into the vegetable mixture and cilantro into the scallops. Add salt and pepper to taste to both. Mound vegetables in a wide, shallow bowl; top with scallops (and any pan juices).

Pecan-Crusted Trout with Orange-Butter Sauce

I got this recipe from–where else?–Bon Appétit, published in April 1996.  I’d been over to our local grocers and they had a fine selection of fresh fish.  I randomly selected trout, thinking of when we’d had it on our honeymoon in Austria.  We were in the hills above the town of Salzburg and the owner had diverted some of the mountain stream into a holding tank, where he farmed trout.  As we sat down to dinner that night, he asked us what size fish we would like.  We used our hands to gesture, as neither of us spoke German.  He went over behind us, and I heard some splashing, then a firm *whack*.  He held up two now-whacked-dead trout.  “Gut?” he asked, with a huge grin on his face.  We nodded. “Gut.”  And they were.  We even ordered one more and shared it.  When are you ever–except if you catch it yourself–going to have trout that fresh?

Bon Appetit addes this note: At the fish market, ask them to remove the head, tail and bones from the trout, then to cut each trout into two fillets, leaving the skin intact. Mine was already a fillet, so I didn’t have to do any of that.  We thought this was delicious.

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients for trout
2 cups pecans (about 8 ounces)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 large (12- to 14-ounce) trout, filleted, skin left intact
3 large egg whites, beaten to blend

Ingredients for sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup dry wine–I don’t drink, so I used apple juice with a splash of rice vinegar
2/3 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
8 5-inch-long fresh parsley stems
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large fresh thyme sprig (ACK! didn’t have any, so I sprinkled some dried thyme into the mix)
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces

For assembly
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 cups thinly sliced savoy cabbage

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

Chopped fresh chives


Make trout:

Combine pecans and 1 tablespoon flour in processor. Grind pecans finely; transfer to plate. Place remaining flour on another plate. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Dip 1 fillet into flour to coat; shake off excess. Using pastry brush, brush flesh side with egg whites. Place fillet, egg white side down, onto pecans; press to coat with nuts. Transfer to waxed paper-lined baking sheet, pecan side down. Repeat with remaining 3 fillets; chill.

Make sauce:

Combine first 7 ingredients in medium saucepan. Boil 10 minutes; add rosemary. Boil until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Strain sauce into another medium saucepan, pressing on solids in sieve. Add cream; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time (do not boil). Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature up to 2 hours.

To assemble:

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large Dutch oven over high heat. Add carrot and bell pepper; toss 2 minutes. Add cabbage; toss until cabbage wilts, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Place 2 fillets, pecan side down, into skillet. Cook until crust is golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using spatula, turn fillets over. Cook until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining butter, oil and fish.

Whisk sauce over low heat to rewarm (do not boil). Divide vegetables among plates. Top with fish. Spoon sauce around fish and vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve.

Halibut Steaks with Creamy Saffron Sauce

When I was in high school, our Spanish teacher, Miss Azevedo, corralled the class to join her at another teacher’s house for some real paella.  She’d provide the ingredients, one of which was saffron.  We talked about this spice as she stood and stirred the seafood, the broth and the rice together, and she admitted that she couldn’t afford the REAL saffron.  Instead she had a packet of “fake” saffron that she’d bought in Spain on her last trip home and brought it back with her.

That idea–that saffron was expensive beyond belief–stuck with me for more than 40 years.  This belief was confirmed by sightings of jars of saffron in the store–a regular sized jar with a thread or two of saffron for a whopping price.  It never made it into my spice cupboard, until one day in Trader Joe’s I saw Spanish saffron in a small jar with a cork for a lid at a very affordable price.  I bought two.

So when I went hunting for a new recipe to make tonight with my frozen Costco halibut steaks, I found this in Mark Bittman’s book How to Cook Everything. Creamy Saffron Sauce.  Given that I was now the proud possessor of some actual saffron threads (as well as having leftover Greek yogurt from dinner at the beginning of the week) I was in business.  We enjoyed it–hope you will too, as it’s another quick and easy dinner.

1 cup yogurt, preferable whole milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
small pinch cayenne pepper
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste (roughly 1-2 Tablespoons)

In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt with some salt and pepper, the cayenne and the shallot.  Rub the saffron threads between your fingers to crush them, then stir it into the yogurt miexture.  Let sit for about 20 minutes.  [It’s like watching a Polaroid photo develop–the sauce starts to turn this fabulousy yummy shade of yellow from the saffron.  I kept giving it a whisk or two to help it along.]  Alternatively you can let it sit for up to 2 hours in the refridgerator.  Just before serving, add the lemon juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning.  It mainly needed more salt, in my estimation.

2 halibut steaks (about 3/4 pound)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

If halibut is frozen, let thaw, then rinse and pat dry.
Sprinkle the halibut with salt and pepper.  Put the butter and olive oil in a large [nonstick] skillet over medium heat.  When the butter melts, swirl it around the pan, then add the fish and cook gently, turning once or twice until a thin-bladed knife meets little resistance when inserted into the thickest part; this weill generally be less than 10 minutes.

Note: we served this with Baked Asparagus and Pearl Couscous with Pine Nuts and Sultanas.

Scallop Gumbo

When I saw this recipe in the New York Times (recipe by Mark Bittman), I knew it would work beautifully with what I’d planned to serve for Super Bowl Sunday: Cajun Jambalaya.

Bittman said it was  lighter gumbo, and the seafood was scallops, rather than the shell fish and bivalves I’d seen in other recipes.  The only place I wondered about was where he said to cook the roux, stirring constantly, until it darkened.  Really?  How dark?  Chocolate brown? Mud-colored?  In the end, I went with his timer advice, cooking and stirring for about 15 minutes.  It did darken (see photos below), but I’ll never know if it was dark enough.

The gumbo was a lighter version of a soup, flavorful, a bit spicy (but not uncomfortable) and I actually liked dumping spoonfuls of the Cajun Jamalaya into the soup, enjoying the rice, shrimp, chicken and sausauge all together in my bowl.  It’s a fine gumbo on its own.

My advice? Prep all the ingredients before you start, because you are stirring the roux and won’t have time to stop and chop.

This is the prep for both dishes, the gumbo and the jamalaya.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Salt and black pepper
2 to 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock, or water
2 cups chopped tomatoes with their juice (canned are fine)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves
Cayenne to taste
1 pound scallops
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish.

1. Put oil and butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add flour and cook, stirring almost constantly, until roux darkens and becomes fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes; as it cooks, adjust heat as necessary to keep mixture from burning.

These are the stages of the roux as it darkened over 15 minutes.  I dumped in the vegetables when it was mud-colored.

2. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic and raise heat to medium. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables have softened, about 10 more minutes.

2. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, bay leaves and cayenne. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat so soup bubbles steadily. Cook for about 20 minutes or until flavors meld. Add scallops and cook until they are no longer translucent, about 2 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve, garnished with parsley.

Cajun Jambalaya

When I lived in Washington, DC for a year, the Washington Post newspaper had a really good food section that I loved to read.  When it was Mardi Gras time, they had Emeril Lagasse contribute one of his recipes to give us all a taste of “N’arlins” style food for our own celebrations.

I made this today in honor of the Saints football team getting into the Super Bowl.  I don’t follow football but I was cheering for the team that had come from New Orleans only because that city needed a boost in their fortunes.  I also found a recipe from Mark Bittman’s column this week for Scallop Gumbo and served it also.  I found I liked the two mixed together for some strange reason–try it some day.

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

Recipe Summary
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 ounces chicken, diced
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, recipe follows
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper (I used orange, because I don’t like the green)
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4-6 drops hot sauce (the original recipe called for 1 teaspoon, if you like it hot, go with it)
3/4 cup uncooked rice
3 cups chicken stock
5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
Salt and pepper

In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well. In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth.

Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. I leave the lid off in order for the liquid to evaporate enough. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and if desired, more Creole seasoning.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup

Sole-Wrapped Scallops with Tomato Vinaigrette

Whenever I walk down Costco’s book table, esp. the cookbook section, I always seem to pick up a new book or four.  I now have a dedicated shelf to cookbooks, where before there were none, so thought I should open them and use them besides just reading them for enjoyment and ideas.  One book I’ve had for a while is The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook, published in 2008, and that’s where I found this recipe.  I wanted something light but impressive for my birthday dinner and this filled the bill.

When the house was full of children, we had balloons on the banister, cards and presents and chaos denoting it a different–and special–day.  Now that there’s just the two of us, I always serve birthday dinners on china.

This recipe makes four servings, but you can adjust it easily.  Make the same amount of vinaigrette, and adjust the fish portions.  I served it with a butter lettuce salad with lemon vinaigrette and quinoa, with sauteed shallot (do first, then add the quinoa and chicken broth).

2 tomatoes, peeled and seeded and chopped
2 Tbs. fresh minced tarragon or flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 Tbs. minced shallot
6 Tbs. olive oil (of good quality)
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice (none of that stuff in the container–ICK)
Course salt and freshly ground pepper

In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, tarragon, shallot, oil and lemon juice and season to taste with S&P.  Blend or process to make a smooth sauce.  Set aside.

Main Dish
4 sole, flounder or fluke fillets (I used sole), skinned
20 young spinach leaves, stemmed and halved lengthwise (you can see from my picture that I’d forgotten this step)
12 medium to large sea scallops, small muscles removed
2 cups fish stock (or equal parts of clam juice and chicken broth–which is what I used)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut each fillet lenthwise into thirds.  Place thd strips on a work surface (I use a double thickness of wax paper), and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover the strips with the spinach leaves.  Place a scallop near the slender end of the each strip, and starting from that end, roll up the fillet, enclosing the spinach leaves and scallop.  Use your two extra hands if you need to (just kidding, but I did feel like I needed a pair), then secure the roll with a toothpick.  Places the rolls in a baking dish and pour the stock over the fish.

Into the oven it goes, for about 20 minutes–just enough time to make the quinoa and assemble the butter lettuce salad.

Bake the rolls, basting occasionally (I just turned them over once), until the scallops are firm and opaque throughout (like I mentioned–for about 20 minutes).  Just before serving, heat the vinaigrette to warm, then spoon onto the plate.  Place fish rolls in the center of the viaigrette, twisting the toothpick carefully to remove it.  Garnish with more tarragon or parsley, if you want to.

It was so good, we had seconds, and didn’t feel the least bit guilty doing so.  This is an EASY dish to make, but it looks and tastes really fancy-schmancy.

Bratten’s (New England-style) Clam Chowder

Bratten’s was the name of a seafood restaurant that began in Salt Lake City, but also had a satellite restaurant in Ogden Utah, where my parents used to go.

My father and mother lived for a time in Boston, New England as it was known and fell in love with their clam chowder; Bratten’s came close to what they remembered.

So, somehow I got the recipe (this was before the internet, so maybe from my mother?) and have made it and loved it for many years as it makes a thick chunky soup.  A niece, Lisa, asked if I had a good recipe, for she wanted to serve it on Christmas Eve.  So that’s what prompted this post.  When I get an original picture, I’ll post it, but for now, this one will have to do.

New England clam chowders are white, creamy soups.  If you want the red, tomato-based soup, that’s known as Manhattan-style clam chowder.

Bratten’s New England-style Clam Chowder

2 (6 1/2 ounce cans ) clams, or 1 pound minced clams with juice

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup finely diced celery

2 cups diced raw potatoes

1 quart milk

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2-3 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Drain juice from clams and pour over vegetables (sometimes I have to add another can of clam juice to cover, or just use a little chicken broth or water).  Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.  Make a white sauce with the butter, flour and milk.*  Add undrained vegetables, clams (chopped, if desired) and vinegar and heat thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook’s Note: Don’t let it stand half warm on the stove.  After serving (immediately), stir it often to let it cool down and refrigerate.

*”Make a white sauce?”  Can you tell this is an old recipe?

To make a white sauce, melt the butter in a heavy pan, and add the flour all at once.  Cook, stirring, until this mixture–a roux–seems to become well-blended and cooked.  Add  the milk, a little at a time, until it’s a creamy mix, then add the rest of the milk.  If the milk is cold, it will stop the cooking–that’s why I like to do it a little at a time.  Besides the Joy of Cooking Cookbook says to do it that way as well.

I always like soups better the next day.  This one is no exception.

When we were in Italy, their traditional Christmas Eve meal is a feast of many different kinds of fish.  This soup would be perfect to add that kind of celebration.  One more tidbit: we always serve this with Oyster Crackers, small round crackers found in the grocery store.  Trader Joe’s has the best ones.

Scallops & Sauteed Spinach with Hoisin Sauce

When I bought the Gourmet Cookbooks at Costco last year (moment of silence, please,  for the closing of Gourmet Magazine) a free one-year’s subscription came to Bon Appétit, the sister publication to Gourmet.  I don’t know if I’ll re-up, but I have to say it’s been a year’s adventure of recipes and cooking.  One issue in particular, the April 2009 issue, I used most of the recipes.  And this recipe, by Molly Stevens,  was one of them.  I remembered it again, because while looking for something to cook up for the Anniversary of Our First Date (some 21  years ago, which my husband refers to as our “semi-anniversary,” since he feels its not a one of the biggies) I found some scallops in the deep freeze, remembered the box of spinach in the fridge and the hoisin sauce in the cupboard.  Score!

I always cut the scallops through the middle to make them thinner, and to make us believe we have more (you can never have too many scallops in your life). They also cook in a flash that way. I use about 1 and 1/2 bags of spinach (approx 5 oz. each), but the same amount of scallions, etc for that step.  Since we don’t drink, I substitute apple juice for the mirin and the last substitution I make is for the chili sesame oil: sesame oil plus a couple of drops of tobasco (one can have too many jars in the fridge of specialized ingredients, I think).

Yield: Makes 6 servings

1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon hot chili sesame oil
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
1/4 cup chopped shallot (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 serrano chile, seeded, minced, divided (I used jalapeno–a little more mild)
4 5-ounce bags baby spinach
Coarse kosher salt (sea salt works fine)
2 pounds sea scallops, side muscles removed
1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
3/4 cup finely chopped spring onions or green onions (white and pale green parts only)
1/4 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*

Whisk first 3 ingredients in small bowl to blend and reserve.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, 1 tablespoon ginger (I grate frozen peeled ginger instead of chopping it), 2 minced garlic cloves, and half of minced chile. Sauté until shallot is soft, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add 1 bag spinach. Stir until beginning to wilt. Add remaining spinach, 1 bag at a time, stirring between additions until just wilted. Season with coarse salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Sprinkle scallops with coarse salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with peanut oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook scallops until brown on both sides and just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer scallops to plate; tent with foil.

Add 1 tablespoon butter, spring onions, remaining 1 teaspoon minced ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves, and remaining half of minced chile to skillet. Sauté until onions begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add mirin and simmer until reduced to glaze, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in hoisin mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk in 2 tablespoons butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide spinach among plates. Top with scallops, dividing equally. Spoon sauce over and serve.