White Beans With Sea Scallops and Spinach

A reader emailed asking for the recipe for a dish that Dixie Hemingway’s brother, Michael, makes on page 118 of Cat Sitter on a Hot Tin Roof. I had to go look in the book to see what the dish was, and it’s a recipe for white beans with sea scallops and spinach. It is yummy, and just in case other readers have wanted to try it, here ’tis.

White Beans with Sea Scallops and Spinach

The Bean Part:

Michael’s way:

Pick over 2 cups dry white beans to remove rocks or other foreign stuff
Cover with a lot of water, 3 inches or so above the beans
Bring to a fast boil, boil for 2 minutes, turn heat off
Cover and let sit for 1 hour
Drain, cover just about an inch with water

1 minced clove garlic
1 T dried minced onion
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. sea salt (or more to taste)

Cover, bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 2 hours or until tender. Keep warm.

A quicker way:

Open 2 cans of white northern beans
Add 1/2 c. water and the same garlic, onion, spices as above
Simmer for 15 or 20 minutes, adding water if it gets too dry. Keep warm.

The Spinach Part
Open a bag of baby spinach leaves. Snip off as many stem ends as you have patience for. Rinse the leaves, leave them dripping wet.

In a snug pan, heat 1 T olive oil, swirl 1 minced clove garlic around to soften but not brown. Dump in wet spinach leaves, clap a lid on the pan, lower the heat to medium. In a minute or 2, stir the leaves, recover, cook just until leaves have wilted and are still bright green. Turn off heat, keep warm.

The Sea Scallops Part

Make sure the sea scallops you buy are fresh and real, not cut up white fish.
Drain them, pat them lightly with paper towels.
Dust them with paprika.
In a heavy skillet, melt a generous pat of butter till it bubbles
Saute scallops on all sides, about a minute per side, for no more than 2 or 3 minutes, depending on size of scallops. Don’t overcook!


On warm plates, layer a large spoonful of white beans over a bed of spinach, top with sauteed sea scallops. Garnish with chopped red tomatoes.

Serve with hot French Bread. A nice glass of wine, either red or white. Yum!


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