Scallops & Shrimp over Herbed Rice with Mustard Dill Vinaigrette

scallops shrimp and dill rice with lemon mustard vinaigrette | sunsets on the side

scallops and shrimp over herbed rice with mustard dill vinaigrette | sunsets on the side

I have always been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day.  I mean, what’s not to love about a day designed to celebrate love?

I’m lucky enough to have a lot of great Valentine memories to think back to.  My favorite has to be the year when Scott and I were still long-distance dating and he flew 1,000 miles just to surprise me at my office and take me out for a Valentine’s date.  He called and told me that I needed to go down to the lobby of my building to pick up his delivery for me, and it turned out that he was my delivery.

I’m not sure that one can be topped.  That’s just Scott, though.  Spontaneous, fun-loving, thoughtful, kind.  That long-distance dating thing wasn’t easy, but it sure had its share of high points.

I’m so lucky that he’s my Valentine…

…my Valentine that doesn’t live 1,000 miles away anymore!

When it comes to celebrating these days, though, we almost always stay in.  The crowds are larger here in St. Pete during the winter anyway, and the restaurants are positively spilling over on Valentine’s Day.  So, I usually make us a special dinner in.  And, my guy is a seafood dinner man all the way.

scallops and shrimp | sunsets on the side

This is a great meal for a night in when you want your dinner to feel a little fancy.  It looks and tastes like something you’d order in a restaurant, but it will be much easier on your wallet.  There are three different components to this meal, but all of them are easy, and the seafood cooks in a snap.  It’s a good portion for two (if your appetite is as big as ours), and I guarantee your date will feel spoiled and loved.

scallops and shrimp over herbed rice with mustard dill vinaigrette

scallops and shrimp over herbed rice with mustard dill vinaigrette | sunsets on the side

Scallops & Shrimp over Herbed Rice with Mustard Dill Vinaigrette
 
Author:
Makes: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup + 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ T. Dijon mustard
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 2 T. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 T. minced fresh dill, divided
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided (plus more for seasoning)
  • ½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, divided (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ lb. shrimp (I used 31-35 count), peeled & deveined
  • ½ lb. scallops (I used 20-30 count)
  • 1 T. unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. For the vinaigrette: Pour ½ cup of the olive oil into a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Add the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, shallot, 1 T. dill, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Whisk together vigorously until the vinaigrette combines and thickens.
  2. For the rice: Stir the rice, chicken stock, and remaining salt and pepper together in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and let simmer – stirring occasionally – for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove the rice from the heat, let it stand for 5 minutes, and then stir in the parsley, remaining dill, and ½ cup of the prepared vinaigrette.
  3. For the seafood: Pat the shrimp and scallops dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and remaining 1 T. olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallops to the hot pan. Sear the first side for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and place on a plate.
  4. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook the same way (sear the first side for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side). Add the scallops and their juices back into the pan with the shrimp, pour in 1 T. of the vinaigrette, and cook for just 1 minute longer to coat the seafood in the sauce.
  5. To serve, place the rice on a plate, top with scallops and shrimp. Garnish with lemon slices and drizzle more vinaigrette on top, if desired.

Lemon Pepper Tilapia

lemon pepper tilapia | sunsets on the side

lemon pepper tilapia | sunsets on the side

I ended up with my first box of lemon pepper panko crumbs sort of by mistake.  I was looking for regular, seasoned panko, but there weren’t any containers on the shelf at my store.  They were wiped out from the week’s sale, and the only option left was a lemon pepper flavor.  They turned out to be super flavorful and crunchy, and I almost always have them on hand now.  They make for quick and easy meals because they’re so highly seasoned that you hardly need to do anything except sprinkle these on top of a protein, bake it, and eat.

I’m just going to go ahead and call this a “dinner idea” because I’m not sure it even qualifies a recipe.  The measurements are based on the amount of fish that I had, so feel free to adjust accordingly.  Just spread a thin coating of mustard on each piece of fish and make sure you have enough panko to completely cover the mustard.

This is fast, easy, and totally adaptable to whatever you have around.  Tilapia was on sale this week, so that’s what I went with.  This would work just as well with pretty much any fish: salmon, cod, flounder…fresh or frozen…whatever.  Or, for non-fish fans, this would also work deliciously with chicken tenders.

Enjoy!

Lemon Pepper Tilapia
 
Author:
Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. tilapia filets
  • 1 T. + 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup lemon pepper panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Pat the tilapia filets with paper towels to dry, and place them in the baking dish.
  3. Spread about 1 tsp. Dijon mustard onto each of the filets. Sprinkle each with ¼ tsp. kosher salt to season.
  4. Mix the panko crumbs and olive oil together in a small bowl. Spread the crumbs evenly over each of the tilapia pieces, and push down gently so they stick to the mustard.
  5. Bake for approximately 35 minutes until fish is cooked through and golden brown on top.

Loosely based on Ina’s panko-crusted salmon.

Honey Dijon Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp

honey dijon prosciutto wrapped shrimp | sunsets on the side

honey dijon prosciutto wrapped shrimp | sunsets on the side

Happy New Year’s Eve, friends!  Are you ready for the ball to drop, counting down to 2014?

I thought I’d drop (sorry) one more appetizer on you guys in case your night tonight calls for such a thing.  These prosciutto-wrapped shrimp are simple, delicious, and pretty enough for a fancy cocktail party.  The honey-Dijon sauce is both sweet and smoky, thanks to the smoked paprika, and the salty prosciutto takes it over the top.

Whatever your New Year’s plans, I hope you have a safe and memorable night!

Honey Dijon Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp
 
Author:
Makes: 6-8 appetizer servings
Ingredients
  • 3 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 4 oz. package thinly-sliced prosciutto
  • 1 lb. large shrimp (21/25 count), peeled and deveined
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning
  • 2 T. sliced green onions for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, honey, and smoked paprika. Cut the prosciutto slices into thirds, lengthwise. (This doesn’t need to be exact; just make sure you have enough pieces to wrap each shrimp).
  3. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel, place on the baking sheet, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Brush shrimp with a thick coat of the honey-mustard mixture.
  4. Wrap each shrimp with one of the prosciutto pieces. Brush prosciutto again with honey-mustard mixture, and place on the baking sheet.
  5. Roast for 9-10 minutes until shrimp are firm to the touch and the prosciutto is slightly crispy around the edges. Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.