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Another one of those just-an-idea posts, inspired by an al fresco lunch at Pentimento on Long Island: season and sear fresh tuna; remove from pan and dice; sweat minced garlic and shallots in evoo in same pan; add baby kale (or spinach or other baby greens) and cook until just begins to wilt; add cooked pappardelle pasta, some pasta water, lemon juice, grated parmesan cheese, and more evoo; stir to emulsify and create a sauce; toss in diced tuna at the very last minute just to warm; garnish with sliced scallions and more grated parmesan.

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This year, since I was home alone with nowhere to go (my own choice, I swear!), I treated myself to a scallop dinner. Since I’ve been eating like a pig queen lately, I made it clean and healthy, using this recipe from Food & Wine, Scallops with Blood Orange, Fennel, and Pistachios.

1 medium bulb fennel
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 navel orange
1/3 cup kalamata olives, halved
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Scallops (I splurged on dry sea scallops, so I only bought three; this recipe could accommodate about eight large scallops)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig thyme
1 1/2 Tbsp capers
1 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted

1. Halve the fennel lengthwise and thinly slice on a mandolin. Place on a large platter and drizzle with olive oil.
2. Remove skin and white pith from the orange and thinly slice into rounds. Layer on top of the fennel.
3. Scatter olives on top of the salad.
4. Sprinkle scallops with a little bit of salt and pepper (go easy on the salt, because the olives and capers provide most of the seasoning).
5. Heat a saute pan over high heat. Add butter and as soon as it melts, place scallops in the pan.
6. Add thyme sprig to the pan and sear the scallops, about 1 minute on the first side, 30 seconds on the flip side. Using a spoon, baste the scallops with the thyme-infused butter while they cook.
7. Remove the scallops from the pan and place directly on top of the salad.
8. Add capers to the pan and fry in the butter just until the first one pops open, about 30 seconds. Spoon on top of the salad.
9. Sprinkle the platter with pumpkin seeds and serve!

This is a great healthy entree or first course. Feel free to omit the scallops and make the salad alone; it would be a great side dish, or a perfect component of a big brunch spread.

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