Scallops With Pancetta and Saffron

Makes 2 servings

It’s already too hot to crank up the oven every night. This recipe employs the toaster oven instead; although its ingredients sound high-class, they’re available at most large grocery stores.

For this recipe, it’s best to use dry-packed scallops, which are dry and firm rather than soft and wet.

If you don’t like scallops, try large shrimp. The recipe doubles easily; the dish cooks so quickly that you can prep twice the amount of pancetta, parsley and seafood, then pop a second batch into the toaster oven right after the first one.

Serve with couscous and sauteed asparagus. Adapted from “The Gourmet Toaster Oven: Simple and Sophisticated Meals for the Busy Cook,” by Lynn Alley (Ten Speed Press, 2005).

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces dry-packed sea scallops (preferably 18-20 count; see headnote)

Leaves from 4 stems flat-leaf parsley (may substitute leaves from 6 to 8 stems chervil)

1 ounce pancetta

Several saffron threads

1 or 2 tablespoons dry sherry or dry white wine

Use the oil to coat the bottom of a cast-iron pan that is small enough to fit in your toaster oven. Place it in the toaster oven; preheat to 400 degrees.

Use paper towels to pat the scallops dry.

Finely chop the parsley to yield 2 tablespoons. Cut the pancetta into small dice to yield 2 tablespoons.

Remove the hot pan from the toaster oven. Stir in the saffron; as soon as its fragrance is released in the hot oil and the threads have slightly disintegrated, stir in the parsley and pancetta. Add the scallops and turn to coat in the mixture. Return the pan to the oven and roast for 5 to 7 minutes or until the scallops are just cooked through (opaque). Remove from the oven and sprinkle the sherry or white wine (to taste) over the scallops; toss the mixture gently to incorporate, making sure the scallops are coated.

Divide between individual plates, or serve immediately in the pan.

Nutrition per serving: 280 calories, 22 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 19 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar