Scallops with zoodles (zucchini noodles)
My sweet husband was out of town recently for a hiking trip. We missed him terribly here at home, but if there’s only one good thing about him traveling, it’s this: I get to add ingredients to the meal plan that I like but he doesn’t!
He’s particular about the texture of food, and he doesn’t like the “squishiness” of scallops! But I adore them — when they’re done right — so they are a delicacy I indulge in during his out-of-town ventures. Not only do they taste like divine buttery deliciousness, but they provide an extremely low fat source of protein.
In this dish, I’ve cooked the scallops in white wine, a common preparation method because it flavors the scallops so beautifully. Then I’ve paired them with onions, garlic, and zoodles (also known as zucchini noodles, or spiralized zucchini) to add a hearty dose of veggies.
Shopping for and preparing the best scallops
When you shop for scallops, look for ones that are sustainably sourced and Fair Trade Certified. Surprisingly, I’ve found that these actually don’t cost any more than other traditionally harvested scallops. Fair Trade Certified seafood items support local fishing communities and ensure that people who harvest and package the scallops are treated fairly during the process.
One brand I use and like is Bristol Fair Trade Certified of USA origin.
If your scallops are frozen, you can quickly thaw them by putting them in a plastic baggie, sealing the bag, and placing it in a bowl of cold water for half an hour. To ensure the bag stays submerged, you can place another bowl on top. Be sure to cook the scallops right away after they’re thawed.
When preparing this or any other recipe, keep an eye on the salt content of your scallops. Many scallop recipes call for you to add salt, but you’ll find that packaged scallops already have very high sodium content already. There’s no need to add even more.
Cooking the onion and scallops
Before you get started, note that you may be starting this part of the process at around the same time as you start the zoodles in the next step.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I cooked the onions for additional time and stirred them infrequently to give them a slightly “caramelized” flavor. I use the term loosely because they weren’t technically caramelized, but rather very well done to the point where that distinctive caramelized flavor began to appear. If you have the time available to make true caramelized onions, they would be phenomenal in this recipe.
Add garlic to the pan and cook for 1 additional minute, stirring frequently.
Add the white wine and cook for about 1 minute or until most of it evaporates. This is an optional step, but it adds to the depth of the flavors, and I recommend it. I wish you could smell how fragrant and amazing the skillet was at this step!
Add scallops to the pan, making sure that they’re making full contact with the pan. Heat for 2 minutes on each side or until done.
Cooking the zoodles
About 10 or 15 minutes before the onion and scallop mixture will be done, start cooking frozen zoodles in another pan. Note that depending on how long you’re cooking the onions and depending on the types of zoodles you’re preparing, this may mean starting both skillets at around the same time.
If you’re using ready-made packaged zoodles like I did, follow package instructions. While the package may list several different preparation methods, the skillet method is the best and far preferable to the boiling or microwave methods.
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Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the zoodles in the skillet (no oil or spray is necessary) and cover with a lid. Steam the zoodles this way for about 10 minutes or longer. Personally, I prefer them slightly overdone and even a little browned. Overcooking them removes more of the water, therefore making the zoodles firmer. Also, I like the smoky taste of the slightly browned portions.
While the zoodles cook, periodically drain the water from the skillet, using the lid to keep the zoodles from sliding out.
Although the Green Giant 12 oz package says it contains 4 servings per container, I find that the contents cook down dramatically and only provide enough for 1 to 2 servings, depending on the recipe. For this recipe, or any one that relies on zoodles as a pasta substitute, I think the package provides a single serving.
Bringing it all together
Put your zoodles in a bowl, then top with the onion and scallop mixture. If you like, pour a glass of the same wine you used in the recipe. Enjoy!
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Scallops with Zucchini Noodles
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 pkgs Frozen zucchini veggie spirals, 12 oz each such as Green Giant (or freshly prepared zoodles)
- 12 oz Scallops thawed if frozen
Cooking the onion and scallops
- Note that you will start cooking the onion and scallops at around the same time as you start the zoodles.
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic to the pan and cook for 1 additional minute, stirring frequently.
- Add the white wine and cook for about 1 minute or until most of it evaporates.
- Add scallops to the pan, making sure that they’re making full contact with the pan. Heat for 2 minutes on each side or until done.
Cooking the zoodles
- Roughly around the same time you start cooking the onion and scallops mixture, start cooking frozen zoodles in another pan.
- Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Place the zoodles in the skillet (no oil or spray is needed) and cover with a lid. Steam the zoodles for about 10 minutes or longer.
- While the zoodles cook, periodically drain the water from the skillet, using the lid to keep the zoodles from sliding out of the pan.
- Put zoodles in a bowl, then top with the onion and scallop mixture.