Ok, so we all know that going out on Valentine’s Day for dinner is, at best, a risk. I’m sure there are good places out there for a cosy, intimate meal for two on this, the most commercially romantic day of the year, but to find it you have to brave the possibility of weirdly-themed set menus, price hikes, table turning, gimmicks, and a country estate garden’s worth of red roses.
But what’s the other option, if you’re going to celebrate the big V? Cooking for a date – or even for the person you’re married to or live with – can seem incredibly daunting with the pressure of romance. You don’t want to spend the whole night in the kitchen, or take on something complicated that’s going to end up in the bin.
What then are the ingredients for the ideal Valentine’s supper? A dish that’s simple but still impressive; speedy but doesn’t feel like something you’d knock up after a night on the tiles. Choose the right ingredients –punchy, bold stuff – and a base that takes no time at all.
Enter this fast but super luxurious pasta dish: garlic, chilli, parsley, crab, lemon – all big hitters when it comes to flavour. Linguine which will cook in the time it takes you to prepare the rest of the dish. And the crowning glory that elevates this to something really special: king scallops, seared and sitting proudly on top.
Scallop and crab linguine
Makes: Serves two
Takes: 15 minutes
Bakes: No time at all
150g dried linguine
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
6 king scallops
170g shredded crab meat
15g (a handful of) parsley
- Put a large pan of salted water on a medium-high heat. Once it reaches a rolling boil, cook the linguine according to the packet instructions.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a low heat in a large frying pan. Mince the garlic and chill, and add to the oil. Cook for a couple of minutes until the garlic has softened but not coloured.
- Heat a cast iron skillet pan to a medium-high heat. Add the final tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Season the scallops on one side with salt, turn over and season the other side. Add the scallops to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, or until they lift easily from the pan and have a deep golden colour. Turn the scallops and cook for another 1-2 minutes on the other side until it too has coloured.
- Stir the crab meat through the garlic and chilli, and warm it through for a minute, then squidge in the lemon juice. Taste and season with pepper and a little extra salt if necessary. Drain the pasta and tip it into the crab mixture, stirring through. Mince the parsley and add ⅔ of it to the pasta. Divide between two bowls. Top with the scallops and the rest of the parsley. Enjoy immediately.