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Side Suggestions to Pair with Amazing Scallops Please!

My fiance is visiting from Germany in two weeks and I'm already plotting the menu of what I'll cook for him, but I'm stuck on the sides! For the main I'll be making seared scallops, with beurre blanc sauce. Our local market has great fishmongers and I've been seeing huge, fresh scallops there regularly, so that will be the main. I just can't figure out what to have for the side! I think I'll be ok with the veggie side, just go with a quick saute of whatever looks good at the market (but I'm hoping for broccolini or asparagus) but I can't figure out what to do for a starch.

Here's some thoughts, please tell me what you think-

1) I keep coming back to polenta even though it doesn't exactly fit with scallops in my mind. But I think my fiance would love a rich polenta made with milk and parmesan.

2) I don't particularly like rice dishes, but scallops seemed to go well with risottos, which I've made with some success in the past. Still, this seems like a more labor/flavor-intensive dish and I want the focus to be on the scallops.

3) Roasted potatoes?

4) Maybe a warm orzo salad with roasted zucchini and a squeeze of lemon? This appeals to me, but as a true side, not to place the scallops on to catch the yummy sauce (which fiance loves).

So, which one gets your vote? Or better yet, what brilliant ideas do you have for me? Thanks!

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  1. Brilliance is not my forte .... but I might suggest:
    I like the asparagus idea.
    Couscous cooked in chicken stock and butter, topped with sliced toasted almonds?
    I might toss a bit of chopped parsley on top but not cilantro. I think the cilantro flavor would be too strong for this.

    1. I made scallops tonight (as an appetizer) and creamy polenta with mascarpone as a side for the veal I made for dinner. I think the creamy polenta would be great with your seared scallops! I'm with you on the asparagus--so tasty sprayed lightly with olive oil and whatever spices suit your fancy...we often use Penzey's Sunny Paris and roast 'em in the oven.

      1. For some reason I love pasta with pesto as an accompaniment to scallops. I think the first time I had pesto, there were scallops as well, so that might explain in. But they do seem to do well together.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rememberme

          There's a recipe that I'm making tonight for guests from a favorite cookbook of mine--grilled scallops over fusilli with mint pesto, sun dried tomatoes and balsamic glaze.
          It's a really nice combination. And great colors, too....

        2. I would do couscous as well, or quinoa (it's easy and tasty and you can flavor it up every which way, skys the limit). Any roasted vegies would be great, like the asparagus or even brocolli or brussel sprouts. Even a sautee of spinach would be nice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lexpatti

            I second the quinoa. It is an amazing side. Also, I would suggest a puree of winter squash which brings out a really nice flavor for something different.

          2. I can see I am thinking such a way bit different than anyone else here. First, I woudl love brilliant fresh steamed green beans, the kind you just want to pick up and nibble. When I think awesome scallops as the main, one of the things I wantto do is balance tastes and textures. I liek the steamed green beans, because they are bright in taste ( broccolini or asparagus I see as heavier) and they are very snappy in texture. Now for me awesome driver scallops have that camelized sear and velvet inside. So since I have that testure as my main course, I want snappy light bright on one end (steamed green beans) so I want smooth smooth starch. I personally would go with an ultra decadent butter creamed mashed potato, with a touch of white truffle oil. Ah!

            Or I might go, depending on what is in market, if fingerling potatoes were there, super fresh frites, especially if I saw purple fingerlings.