“I put up with your stories about Sea Otters and Scallops”

Every time I make scallops I always think of Christopher Walken saying that infamous line in one of my all time favorite movies Wedding Crashers. I love the way he pronounces scallops, in that way that only Christopher Walken can…”scahhhlopps.” I decided today that I was craving a light but delicious meal, I knew I wanted scallops and I knew I wanted to make some healthy side dishes to compliment them. This could have something to do with the fact that on Wednesday my diet consisted of candy bars from the gift bags for my upcoming event at work, Penn Station pizza, chicken fingers and more candy bars. And the fact that in the brief 2 hours I saw my mom that day she told me about three times that I need to cook with less animal fat. You see, my mom’s a nurse and she quotes medical statics like I quote movies. Example:

Me: “Mom I want to make a mac and cheese as a Thanksgiving side dish”

Mom: “No, Elizabeth I don’t want anyone to die after eating this meal.”

Me: “Mom come on no one’s going to DIE”

Mom: “Elizabeth, the American Heart Association says that 85% people who suffer a heart attack do so after consuming a high calorie meal.”

Wahn, Wahn. Talk about a holiday let down…

My mom won, we didn’t have mac and cheese, but we did have a lot of cheesy, creamy, bacon-y dishes, much to her dismay. Although her words were echoing in my head after dinner when my brother had fallen asleep on the couch and I was sort of tempted to check his pulse…

Anyway…tonight seemed like a good night to make a figure (and heart) friendly meal, so I went with pan seared scallops over mashed cauliflower topped with sauteed corn, and some garlic roasted brussels sprouts on the side. I’ve been on a brussels sprout bender lately, I can’t get enough of them. I suppose it’s not a bad thing, better than the Shake Shack bender I went on a few weeks ago…So onto the main dish, I love putting scallops with a nice seared crust over a creamy puree. Sometimes I do mashed potatoes but I decided to swap in a healthier version because well, in the words of Regina George “sweatpants are all that fits me right now.” I did add some shredded Parmesan cheese for a little extra flavor. I prepared the scallops really simply and just seared them in their own juices. The key to getting that perfect sear on the scallops is putting them in a screaming hot pan and not moving them around for about 2 or 3 minutes. If you start sauteing right away they wont get that nice brown crust.I topped the scallops with some corn that I sauteed in the pan juices after searing the scallops. I think it’s a great way to soak up all that delicious caramelization that the scallops leave behind and I just love the way the sweetness from the scallops is mirrored in the sweetness of the corn.

What’s so great about this dish is that you are essentially eating a very lean protein and a big plate of vegetables. But it tastes like a really decadent meal. AND with the exception of the cheese there is NO animal fat…happy mommy? So next time your feeling a little too full of holiday cheer, give this recipe a whirl!

What are your favorite low-cal recipes??

Scallops over cauliflower puree topped with sauteed corn


Olive oil

1 lb fresh or frozen scallops

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets

10 oz. frozen corn

1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese


Thaw the scallops under cold running water (if frozen) and pat dry. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add scallops and let them sear (without moving) for 3 minutes, flip and repeat on the other side, basting with the juices. Remove from pan and cover with foil. Add the defrosted corn to the skillet and saute. Meanwhile place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl, cover with water, steam in microwave for 10-15 minutes until fork tender.  Using an immersion blender puree the cauliflower until smooth and creamy. Stir in the Parmsean cheese. Plate the dish staring with the cauliflower, top with the scallops and then sprinkle on the corn.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Brussels Sprouts

Olive Oil



2 cloves of garlic minced


Cut the stems off the sprouts and remove the outer leaves. Slice in each sprout in half lengthwise. Toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until browned on the outside and soft on the inside


2 thoughts on ““I put up with your stories about Sea Otters and Scallops”

  1. Were you inspired to make scallops after several references to Spike’s frozen scallop catastrophe last week on Top Chef?

    Knew it.

    PS. Rachael Ray is rubbing off on you. Screaming hot pan anyone?

  2. Good for you Liz! You CAN eat healthy without sacrificing flavor or creativity. “The Galloping Gourmet” TV host Graham Kerr switched from cream, butter and fat-laden dishes to healthier fare after his wife Trina, who was also his producer, almost died of a heart attack in her 40’s. We talked about doing scallops for Christmas Eve, now I am really in the mood, they look delicious!

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