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Healthy Dish

Healthy Romance

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Celebrate a guilt-free Valentine’s Day with this succulent dinner for two

Scallops were one of the first dishes I learned to cook, because they’re so easy to make. I remember in my bachelor days preparing scallops for a Valentine’s dinner, hoping to impress my date with my culinary skills. Unfortunately, I hadn’t yet learned not to overcook them, and rubbery scallops aren’t that impressive-a lesson I learned the hard way. But when you cook them just right, and it’s really not difficult to do, scallops make a terrific (and light) romantic dinner for two.

In addition to being delicious, scallops are a low-calorie source of high-quality protein. In fact, they’re more than 80 percent protein, providing a rich 15 grams per 3-oz. serving, plus trace amounts of at least 18 vitamins and minerals.

Chef Jeannette’s version marinates the scallops in sherry to compensate for a reduced butter content. (Not that there’s anything wrong with grass-fed butter-we just wanted to keep the calorie count down so you have room for some traditional Valentine’s Day chocolate.) She also upgraded the bread crumbs to a whole-grain variety for a bit more fiber.

Parmesan cheese goes perfectly with this dish. It’s lower in calories than you might think (22 calories per Tbs.), and packs a fair amount of calcium (55 mg per Tbs.). The mushrooms are high in fiber, as well as minerals such as potassium. In short, everything you love about baked scallops can be found in this dish for a slightly lower caloric cost. -Dr. Jonny

Sherry & Shiitake Baked Scallops

Serves 2

This dish has a restaurant flare, but it’s easy to prepare at home.

10-12 oz. sea scallops, tough ligaments removed
1/3 cup dry sherry
3 Tbs. butter, divided
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
3 shallots, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
Salt and ground pepper,
to taste
1/3 cup whole-grain
bread crumbs
3 Tbs. freshly grated
Parmesan cheese
¼ large lemon

  1. Combine scallops and sherry in glass storage container, and marinate 2 hours or overnight in refrigerator. Drain well and pat dry, reserving ¼ cup marinade.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add 2 Tbs. butter to small casserole dish (about 3 cups, or use an 8-inch pie plate), and place in oven until butter is melted. Remove from oven, swirl to coat bottom of dish, and set aside.
  3. In large sauté pan or skillet, melt remaining butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms in single layer, and cook about 3 minutes without stirring. Turn mushrooms once, and cook 2 minutes more, until just starting to brown.
  4. Add shallots, and cook 1 minute, or until mushrooms are lightly browned. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  5. Add reserved marinade, and cook 2 minutes, until mushrooms and shallots are fairly tender and most of the liquid is cooked off. Add scallops to pan, and toss gently to combine. Cook 1-2 minutes, turning once.
  6. Transfer mixture into prepared casserole dish, and sprinkle bread crumbs and cheese evenly over top. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until scallops are cooked through but still tender-centers should have a slight pink tinge. Squeeze lemon over all to serve.

per serving: 540 cal; 33g pro; 27g total fat (13g sat fat); 26g carb; 105mg chol; 780mg sod; 3g fiber; 10g sugars

Notes… From Chef Jeannette

To complete your romantic meal, consider serving sides of sautéed asparagus and lemony rice. To prepare the rice, combine one generous cup of piping hot, cooked brown basmati rice with one scant Tbs. lemon juice, 1 scant tsp. butter, ½ tsp. lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to combine, and serve immediately.