Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cajun "Lily Pads"

Cajun “Lily Pads”
(for two)

If you don’t care for seafood you can still enjoy this dish. Omit the scallops and make it a meatless meal (quinoa is a great source of protein), or use slices of chicken or pork (made with thyme and lemon or your choice of seasoning) as a substitute.



- 2 servings of Bay Scallops (raw)

- ½ Lemon

- Sprinkle of Thyme

- Salt to taste

- Baby Spinach leaves

Vegetable Sauce:

- 3 stalks Celery

- 1 large Onion

- 1 Large Red Bell Pepper

- 1 can diced Tomatoes

- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

- 2 Bay Leaves

- ½ teaspoon Thyme

- 1 Jalapeño pepper

- Salt and ground black Pepper to taste

- Dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)

- Olive Oil

Smokey Quinoa:

- 1 cup uncooked Quinoa

- 1 ½ cup Water

- ½ teaspoon Smoked Paprika

- Salt and Pepper to taste

- Sprinkle of All-spice

Place 1 ½ cup water in a small saucepan and add the quinoa, smoked paprika, all-spice, pepper and salt (to taste); stir to combine. Turn burner to medium-high heat. Once the quinoa begins to boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. The quinoa will need to cook for about 20 minutes; you should be able to fluff it with a fork.

Dice the onion and celery. Heat some olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. During this time, dice the red bell pepper.

Once the onions and celery have softened, add the diced tomatoes, white wine (about one and one half times around the perimeter of the pan), Old Bay Seasoning, 
thyme and bay leaves.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover and reduce the heat to low. 
The sauce should continue to simmer under the lid. 

Cut the Jalapeño pepper in half.

Then take a small knife and cut along the ribs of the pepper to remove the seeds.

Taste the sauce to see if additional salt is needed. Add the Jalapeño
 halves to the pot and re-cover. 

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet (medium heat). Add the scallops, squeeze the lemon over them, and season with salt and thyme. Cook until slightly firm and opaque (about 2 minutes, be careful not to overcook them). 

To serve: Make a bed of quinoa on the plate, spoon some of the vegetable sauce on top of it, layer baby spinach leaves over the sauce and finish with the scallops. 
Garnish each plate with a Jalapeño half. 

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