I’ve never been one for fussy meal plans, even when the occasion is special. There is something so wonderful about elevating an ordinary meal, so much so that even my “fancy” parties are pretty chill with just a few thoughtful details here and there. I recycle menus and I serve the same thing more than once to friends I know love coming over for that specific kale salad. That’s the way rituals begin—you make a dish enough times to put your own spin on it, and your friends and family begin to taste what makes your own spin on said dish unique.
I thought I’d share two great recipes that look and taste like you put a ton of work into them but are relatively easy to create within an hour. Both recipes come from It’s All Good, one of the better goop cookbooks available. They’ve been added to my “shit I forgot we made dinner plans” menu arsenal and maybe you’ll add them to your list, too.
It’s All Easy: Seared Scallops over Watercress
16 scallops, roe removed
Juice of 1 small lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve
Splash of champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tbs finely chopped eschalot
1/3 cup olive oil
12 asparagus spears, trimmed
1 bunch watercress
Large handful sugar snap peas, cut into 1″ pieces (about 1 cup)
3 tbs unsalted butter
Dry scallops well with paper towel, then generously season.
Combine the lemon juice, vinegar, eschalot, and 1 tbs oil in a large bowl.
Using a peeler, shave 4 of the asparagus spears into strips. Add to the bowl with the watercress. Cut the remaining 8 asparagus spears into 1 cm pieces and set aside.
Heat 1 tbs oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat. Add the sugar, snap peas, and asparagus pieces, season, and cook for 1-2 minutes until just cooked through. Add to the bowl with the watercress and toss to combine.
Return pan to medium-high heat with remaining 2 tbs oil. Add the scallops and cook (on one side only) for 3-5 minutes until very crispy and almost cooked through. Turn scallops, reduce the heat to low, and add the butter (the butter will immediately sizzle and start to turn brown). Turn off the heat (the residual heat will finish cooking the scallops).
Divide the salad among four plates, top with seared scallops and drizzle over brown butter. Serve with lemon wedges on the side, if desired.
It’s All Easy: Crispy Potatoes with Lemon and Parsley
2 lbs fingerling potatoes or new potatoes.
coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
zest of 1 lemon finely grated
1 large clove garlic minced
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley chopped
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, add a generous pinch of salt, and bring water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 – 20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes. Place on a dish towel and then use the side of a knife or a folded dish towel to smash each potato.
Heat the olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the potatoes and let sit, undisturbed, until brown and crispy. Flip the potatoes and crisp up the other side.
While the potatoes are crisping, mix together the parsley, lemon, and garlic to make your gremolata. Once both sides of the potatoes are nice and brown, stir in the gremolata and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and serve.
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.