I made three major adjustments to the recipe for the “Bay Scallop Gratin,” from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, by Ina Garten. Instead of preparing six gratin dishes, I made my meal in a single baking dish. Instead of blending the topping in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (why?), I just pulverized the butter, garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, Pernod, salt, and pepper in my food processor. And lastly, I used big frozen scallops, rather than fresh (although pricey). This recipe called out to me with its inclusion of prosciutto and Pernod and white wine and scallops. It delivered an intensely rich, salty, and sharp gratin, best served over a bed of noodles, it turned out.

I used Prosciutto La Quercia Americano, which admits to being, “The only prosciutto available made exclusively with humanely raised, antibiotic free pork. Prosciutto Americano offers lower yield losses, improved slicing characteristics, and more uniform quality end to end. Traditionally salted, dried, and aged with only sun-dried sea salt added, each piece is worked on 11 times by our trained artisans to maximize its potential. We use no nitrates, nitrites or substitutes.” And I gladly used 2 Tbsp. of Pernod, which is a warmly fragrant, anise liqueur, in line with Ouzo or Ojen or Pastis or Ricard. Panko crumbs are a kick to use, because they are crunchier than typical fine breadcrumbs, textured more like corn flake crumbs. I sprinkled extra panko crumbs over the top of my single casserole.

Since I was using a single gratin dish, I poured the full 6 Tbsp. of white wine into the bottom of the dish, before adding the scallops and the “garlic butter.” I baked my gratin for 17 minutes, and broiled it for another minute, to crust the top. As I said, the rich flavors of butter, olive oil, prosciutto, Pernod, wine, and lemon juice were potent. I imagine Ina Garten envisioned small ramekins as more responsible doses of this meal. Dave’s sensible alternative was to serve these powerhouse, saucy scallops over pasta -- and that’s exactly what we did with the leftovers. I did indeed serve this with French bread.

Shallots (2) = .26¢
Frozen Scallops (2 lbs.) = $23.00

RECIPE: regard this as a special-occasion meal, because these amounts of butter, prosciutto, oil, and wine won’t be part of your every day
you can eat after less than 45 minutes of prep and cooking
TASTE: spicy garlic, salty prosciutto, tangy lemon, and the warm complexities of Pernod and white wine gloriously coat scallops, which are a succulent treat

After traveling to outer space with the scallops, I want to come back down to earth. Next time, I will cook “Curried Ground Turkey with Potatoes,” from simplyrecipes.com. See this winner when you come back to my site on Thursday, September 30.