Seared Sea Scallops with Pepper Garlic Saffron Linguini

This is really one of those “no recipe” recipes that you throw together and comes out great. The better the sea scallops, the better the result, so I recommend “dry” (also known as “diver”) scallops, although I have to admit I’ve had pretty good results with frozen wild-caught American sea scallops. (Yes, I know all scallops come from the sea, but “sea scallops” are the big ones to differentiate them from the smaller “bay scallops” or the the even smaller “calico scallops.”)

The trick with this dish is to use two pans. I sear the scallops in my well-seasoned cast iron skillet, while I sauté the garlic and red pepper in a stainless pan (you could use non-stick) that is big enough to hold the pasta.


1/2 TBS butter or less

2TBS extra virgin olive oil

2 gloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

Dry crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

½ cup of dry (preferably French) vermouth or dry white wine

1 lb. seas scallops (dried with paper towels.)

½ lb. of linguini

Pinch of saffron threads (crushed in a mortar if you want.)


Salt the water for the pasta and bring it to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat your cast iron pan over high heat and put in a little butter (you don’t want too much, since you want to sear them, not fry them.) Make sure your scallops are dry or they won’t sear. Add scallops.

You want to cook them until they are brown and crusty on one side (peek at them using tongs.) When they are brown on one side turn them over and turn the heat to low for three minutes. Remove scallops to a plate, and deglaze the pan with the vermouth or white wine.

While the scallops are searing heat your other pan, not too hot, put the oil in, add the chopped garlic and crushed red pepper flakes (to taste) and sauté. Don’t let your garlic burn. When the garlic is brown add the deglazing vermouth from the other pan and the crushed saffron threads

When the pasta is done, save a half cup of the cooking water, and then drain the pasta, and add it to the oil, garlic pan. Add the pasta water. Turn the heat up and cook the pasta for about a minute, tossing to mix the ingredients. Add the cooked scallops, grind black pepper to taste and serve onto hot plates.

Serve with a crisp white wine.

“Down with Chaos!” A Devotion on Psalm 93:4

“More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters, more majestic than the waves of the sea, majestic on high is the Lord!”—Psalm 93: 4 (NRSV)

Before there was something there was nothing. The proto-physicist(s) who imagined the creation of the universe “in the beginning” described a formless emptiness. To the Ancients water, especially the sea, was a symbol of chaos, understood as disorder, tumult, and confusion.

I once visited a friend of mine in the hospital who had just suffered a stroke. I asked him how he was and he answered, “It is all ‘tohu wa-bohu,’” which is the Biblical Hebrew translated as “formless void.” He had grown up in Beirut and spoke Arabic, which has a very similar term for chaos. My friend likened his mind’s confusion and sense of disorder to the primordial chaos of Genesis 1.

We have all from time to time experienced chaos in our lives. Sudden changes can throw our world into disorder. Daily we witness on the news confusion and disorder in our country and among the nations.

Psalm 93 begins a series of psalms that proclaim the absolute sovereignty of God. Our passage for today asserts God’s sovereignty by proclaiming that God’s majesty is mightier even than the waves of the sea. In other words, God has control over chaos.

How, when and where God exercises that sovereignty remains mysterious, but we are assured that ultimately God will be up and chaos will be down. May it be so!

Prayer: God of majesty and might, bring order to chaos, understanding to confusion, and your sweet peace to every place of disruption.

(This is my United Church of Christ Daily Devotion for May 29, 2019. To see the original go here. To subscribe to the UCC Daily Devotional and receive it every day by e-mail go here.)

“Breaking chains, Opening Doors” A Sermon on Acts 16:16-34

Today is the Seventh and final Sunday in Easter and we have had several readings from the Book of Acts that emphasize the power of Jesus’ resurrection during the rise of the early church. Continue reading

“By the River” A Sermon on Acts 16: 9-15 and Revelation 22: 1-5

You may have noticed there is a lot about rivers in the service. A river is featured prominently in both our readings for today. One is an actual river in the ancient city of Philippi, where Paul went to pray, and where he met Lydia. The other river is from John the Divine’s vision of the New Jerusalem, where a river runs through the heavenly city. Continue reading

My Blog is Ten Years’ Old: A Retrospective

In the Beginning: 2009-2010

I’d like to thank all of you who have dropped by this blog over the years. It is hard for me to believe a decade has passed since I began it. I started to write again as a personal act of healing which in time morphed into a new chapter of my ministry. Continue reading

“Superpowers” A Devotion on Acts 5: 14-15

“Yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he came by.” —Acts 5: 14-15 (NRSV)

Sometimes when I read from The Acts of the Apostles I am envious. I read about the extraordinary signs and wonders the Apostles accomplished in Jesus’ name, the great crowds they brought into the church, and the numerous people they healed. Continue reading

“A Change of Heart” A Devotion on Psalm 51: 10 and Jeremiah 31: 33

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” —Psalm 51: 10

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” —Jeremiah 31: 33 Continue reading