This meal was cooked in stages–none required that much work, but each required forethought, because I’m working in my city kitchen with limited stovetop and oven space. The meal was broiled scallops, broccoli di rapa, oven-roasted tomatoes and baked potatoes. There are no recipes–just a strategic plan.
I planned backwards from the scallops. . . I knew that I wanted potatoes, but roasted potatoes would have to come out of the oven once the broiler went on for the scallops. Since they don’t hold well once they come out of the oven, I opted for baked potatoes–they can sit for at least 20 minutes and still retain their heat while I broiled the scallops.
Slow-roasted tomatoes are a very simple do-ahead dish, so I actually began my prep with those on a low oven–275 degrees. I let them roast for an hour, then turned up the oven to 400 degrees and tossed in the yukon gold potatoes (washed and, while wet, coated with kosher salt). I let the tomatoes overlap with the potatoes for about 15 minutes, then took out the tomatoes. I knew the potatoes would take about an hour.
Meanwhile, I blanched the broccoli di rapa (see my “Fritto di Mare” post for the full recipe) and let them sit in a strainer until the last minute.
Once the potatoes were done, I took them out and turned up the oven to broil. I decided to broil the scallops, rather than pan searing, because pan-searing scallops requires a broad skillet and a strong flame–neither of which I have in the city. Better to broil them–less splattering and less odor. The scallops went under the broiler coated with salt, pepper and olive oil until they started to brown and blister. I find that they cook so quickly, it’s better to let them develop a little bit of a crust on one side and simply continue to cook them on that side–do not turn them at all. By the time they begin turning golden, they’re cooked through. A little drizzle of lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil at the table is all they need.
Once the scallops went under the broiler, I sauteed the broccoli with lemon zest for 2 minutes. All went on the table hot (except the tomatoes, which are meant to be served at room temperature). Not much to clean up, either.