Makes:4 servings as an hors d'oeuvre, 2 servings as a main dish
Dress up seared scallops with lemon, cream, and a whole lot of tarragon for a delicate dish that’s delicious as is or tossed with pasta.
Game plan: To serve over pasta, prepare 1/2 pound spaghetti or linguine and reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water. Add cooked pasta to sauce with enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to reach desired consistency. Toss to coat pasta, add tarragon, and return scallops to pan.
Pat scallops dry with paper towels, rub with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over high heat. When oil shimmers, add scallops and cook on each side until golden brown, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and reserve.
Remove the pan from heat and carefully add vodka, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and stir to incorporate into the sauce. Return the pan to medium-low heat and add cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest; stir to combine. Return scallops and any accumulated juices to the pan and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Stir in tarragon and serve with bread as an hors d’oeuvre or over pasta as a main course.