Those of you wonderful people who follow my blog know I have a weakness for anything cooked in a cast-iron skillet. There is something so old-timey about cast iron, and I love how they serve today as both cooking equipment and serving platter – as they do in my house. Maybe it’s the weight of them; maybe it’s just the tradition of them — I don’t know, but everything seems to taste better in cast iron. No wonder, then, that tonight’s offering is a one-pan meal: a mixed grill of seared scallops, shrimp, and cod filet, served with piping hot cheese grits and some quick wilted spinach. Light, healthy, and warming — just the thing for a chilly winter’s night.
Scallop, Shrimp, and Cod Skillet with Parmesan Grits and Spinach
6 large shrimp, peeled
2-4 large scallops (8oz total), adductor muscles removed
1/2 lb cod filet
6 oz spinach
1 cup grits
4 tbs butter, melted and divided, plus 1 tbs butter, cold
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
This meal was inspired largely by the super-huge scallops on display at Whole Foods. They were simply enormous, and my soul ached for them at first glance, but my pocketbook was unprepared for the hefty price-tag which came along with them. So instead of doing without entirely, I purchased the two fattest bivalves I could find (they came to almost 1/2 lb on their own!), and augmented them with some more reasonably priced seafare — some large tiger shrimp and a nice codfish loin. The shrimp I peeled while raw, and the fish I cut into bite sized pieces.
This is actually a *very* quick meal, and super-easy — it’s just the expense that sort of knocks it out of the Weeknight Wondermeal category. I started by melting my butter, which rather cooled back to room temperature before I started cooking in earnest, while I assembled everything else. I wash and spin dry my spinach, grate my cheese, and get my grits all measured out.
I divide my melted butter roughly into 6ths, placing 1 dollop into each skillet, which I then position over hot burners. As soon as the butter has begun to brown, I layer in my seafood, starting with the scallops and fish, which I let sear on one side for about 4 minutes, before flipping each piece carefully.
I then add the shrimp, with a dollop more butter on top to melt over them, which I cook for 2 minutes on each side, making a total of 4 minutes for the fish and scallops. Y’see, the shrimp doesn’t take as long as the other stuff …
The skillets remain on the heat with their butter still bubbling hot.
Meanwhile, I’ve made my grits according to the package directions (1 part grits to 3 parts water is the magic ratio), and have added my cold tablespoon of butter and most of my grated cheese, reserving a bit for garnish.
After only a few moments, my spinach is almost completely wilted, with some bits browning and crisping nicely on the pan’s surface. I push all this to one side, and divide my grits between the two skillets, pouring them next to the spinach.
A dash of salt, a sprinkling of pepper, a cross-hatching of shredded cheese, and a wedge of lemon are all the compliments needed for this rich, warm, satisfying seafood dinner. Each protein brings something different to the plate: the cod is flaky and tender, the shrimp is fresh and firm, and the scallop is sweet and seared to a crisp. Along with the stick-to-your ribs corn grits and helping of verdant greenery, this is a complete dinner in virtually no time at all. Dig in and enjoy, my friends. I sure did.