It has really been one of those weeks. We’ve had lots of stressful stuff going on, not the least of which is trying to find homes for our resident kittens, and the weather this week has been completely out of whack. The stress and weather have made my health problems flare up, and unfortunately, the meals I had sketched out for the week after our usual weekend food safari have ended up getting postponed or scrapped altogether.
Our intention was to skewer these dayboat scallops on some rosemary branches and grill them for dinner on Tuesday night. If you were in the New York Metro area on Tuesday night, you probably know why that didn’t happen – buckets and buckets of rain, not to mention temperatures more suited to mid-April than mid-June. It was great for the garden, not so great for my joints, and definitely not the kind of weather you want to linger outside in.
Nothing we had on hand was inspiring me, and I was bone tired anyway, so I tossed a salad, plated up some cured meats, cheeses and olives, and we had an indoor picnic. This is a fine meal in a pinch, but all of the good fresh ingredients we had in the fridge were haunting me. I didn’t want them to go bad before we could use them.
Tuesday was still chilly and overcast, but I was determined to do something with those scallops. I decided that if we couldn’t grill them, I’d sear them indoors with herbs and a little tomato butter. The chill in the air proved to be a plus as far as our side dish went. I sliced up some baby fennel and greenhouse-grown red bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, and a variety of tomatoes and layered them in a lightly-oiled baking dish, seasoning each layer with a generous sprinkling of salt and Herbes de Provence. I splashed about a quarter cup of white vermouth over the veggies, sprinkled some dry breadcrumbs on top, and added a light drizzle of olive oil, then baked the veggies in a 400 degree oven for about half an hour.
I was incredibly pleased with the texture of the vegetables – they were soft but not mushy, and their flavors were sweet and concentrated, accented nicely by the aromatic herbs. As well as we liked this as a side dish, I think it would also make for a great meatless entree.