Have we discussed “sexy ugly” before? If you know where that term comes from (without googling it) than we are probably destined to be best friends. But since I don’t want you to leave my blog to go on a scavenger hunt I’ll simply tell you. Sexy ugly was originally coined in the fabulous movie Kissing Jessica Stein. This film is one of my top ten favorite movies of all time. If you haven’t seen it before you have to rent it immediately. For those of you not in the know it stars Jennifer Westfeldt, who happens to be Mrs. Jon Hamm in real life. As this is one of my favorite movies I also happen to have a slight obsession with Westfeldt. She may or may not have a TiVo wishlist that automatically records everything she happens to appear in… but I digress.
The Urban Dictionary describes sexy ugly as:
Someone who is not conventionally good-looking (or any kind of good-looking in some cases), but possesses an appealing personality, style, or talent, and is thus considered sexually attractive by many.
Case in point — this Bay Scallop dish. I originally made these scallops last winter and the images have sat in Aperture for months. I’ve opened them up and gazed at them with ill concealed contempt on several occasions and then promptly closed the folder in search of another more “conventionally sexy” dish to post about.
But let’s take a closer look at these scallops. They would have been immensely prettier had I actually dished them out into individual gratin dishes before baking them, but instead I decided to take the all-purpose approach and cook them in one large white casserole dish. Did this effect the taste of the scallops? Absolutely not. They’re dripping in butter, wine, and prosciutto which are pretty much the most appealing ingredients in the world. So while this dinner wasn’t a Brad Pitt it was most definitely an Adrien Brody and let’s not forget which of them has an Oscar. I rest my case.
Bay Scallop Gratin
Six Servings — Originally published by Ina Garten
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 medium shallots, minced
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, minced
4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Pernod
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 cup panko
6 tablespoons dry white wine
2 pound fresh bay scallops
Lemon, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place 6 (6-inch round) gratin dishes on a sheet pan.
To make the topping, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). With the mixer on low speed, add the garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, Pernod, salt, and pepper and mix until combined. With the mixer still on low, add the olive oil slowly as though making mayonnaise, until combined. Fold the panko in with a rubber spatula and set aside.
Preheat the broiler, if it’s separate from your oven.
Place 1 tablespoon of the wine in the bottom of each gratin dish. With a small sharp knife, remove the white muscle and membrane from the side of each scallop and discard. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and distribute them among the 3 dishes. Spoon the garlic butter evenly over the top of the scallops. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the topping is golden and sizzling and the scallops are barely done. If you want the top crustier, place the dishes under the broiler for 2 minutes, until browned. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of chopped parsley and serve immediately with crusty French bread.