Pan Seared Scallops with Toasted Israeli Couscous & Roasted Vegetables

Last night was one of those toss it together kinda dinners.  I really had no plan.  The entire day was filled with this or that and unfortunately my to-do list never got ta-done.  Anyway, I opened the fridge and found a package of scallops which sounded good.  Then on to the pantry where this bright purple box of Israeli couscous was starring at me.  I had the protein and the carbs now I needed some fresh veggies, so out to the garden I went for carrots, onions, tomatoes, baby beets and fresh herbs.  The end result, well, it was pretty darned good.  The kids each had 2 helpings and the Hubs licked the spoon.  I think that’s a good sign it was a winner.

Note: One thing I didn’t do that I would do next time is to roast the tomatoes whole with the carrots and onions.  The pop of fresh tomato is usually great but didn’t pair as well with the earthy roasted veggies.  So don’t chop them, just toss them in the roasting pan.

Get a pot with 4 cups of water boiling and add a tablespoon of chicken base, or alternatively you could just use 4 cups of chicken stock/broth.  I like chicken base, but that’s just me.

Preheat the oven to 450.  In a roasting pan or pyrex dish add 3 medium carrots that have been chopped coarsely, 1 medium onion chopped coarsely, 6 small red peppers or 1 large red pepper chopped, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix it all together and put in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes. (toss in the tomatoes & baby beets here as well if you’d like)

Note: I roasted my beets separate because I’m the only one in the house who likes them.  If your family won’t squeal in horror (like mine) then add them to the carrots.

To get the veggies to have a little charred color, I popped them under the broiler for about 2 minutes.

In a skillet lightly coated with cooking spray, add 1 1/2 cups of Israeli couscous and toast over medium high heat until it begins to turn a golden brown.

Note: Israeli couscous is larger in size than regular couscous.  It can be found in the ethnic food aisle of the grocery store or at specialty stores like World Market or Trader Joes.  The flavor is nutty and the texture is creamier than traditional couscous.

Like this.  The smell will be heavenly too.  Add this to the boiling chicken stock plus 1 tablespoon of butter and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook according to package directions.

Baby scallops I heart you!  Really I heart you when you are giant Diver Scallops.  Anyway, make sure the scallops are dry before adding to the hot frying pan coated with cooking spray.  Otherwise you won’t get a good sear.  You want to cook your scallops like a hooker – Hot and Fast!  Low and slow is for sauce.  :)  So make sure the pan is good and hot.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sear those babies up!

In a large bowl add the cooked couscous, roasted veggies, 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper if needed.  Top with the seared scallops and a sprinkling of parsley and serve.

Pan Seared Scallops with Toasted Israeli Couscous & Roasted Vegetables
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Ingredients
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
1 tablespoon butter
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
4 baby beets, scrubbed and peeled
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb scallops, rinsed and dried on paper towel
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

Instructions
1 Preheat oven to 450.  In a baking dish add the carrots, onion, red pepper, beets, thyme, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss together and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
2 Bring 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil.  In a skillet coated with cooking spray add the couscous and toast over medium-high heat until golden brown.  Add to the chicken stock and add butter.  Cook according to package directions (about 12 minutes).
3 In the same skillet that’s been recoated with cooking spray, add the scallops and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Sear on each side until cooked through, about 4 minutes (or longer depending on size).
4 In a large bowl add the couscous, parmesan cheese, roasted vegetables and toss to combine.  Pour onto a serving platter and top with seared scallops and parsley and serve.

Makes 6 Servings

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