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Butter + leeks = delicious: Scallops with melted leeks and egg noodles

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The egg noodles work well with this dish because of their shape and scale. You don’t want a long, twirly pasta here, but rather noodles you can jab with a fork, along with scallop bites.

Besides lots of butter, some olive oil, some lemon juice and salt and pepper, the only other ingredient here is parsley. It adds a nice freshness without imposing a bigger herb taste that, say, tarragon or sage might. The stars of this show are the leeks and the scallops.

Scallops with Melted Leeks and Egg Noodles
Serves 2

2 cups sliced leeks (from 2 large or 3 smaller leeks)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
good quality extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 pound sea scallops (about 4 to 6)

1/2 pound short, wide egg noodles (or other ribbon pasta)

Melt the leeks. Slice the dark green leafy top and root tip from each leek, leaving just the white and pale green parts. Halve lengthwise and rinse under cold running water, fanning layers to wash away any grit. Slice leeks crosswise into 1/8- to 1/4-inch half moons.

Heat a heavy lidded saucepan over a medium-low flame. (Heavy is the key here, a thin-bottomed pan will brown or even burn the leeks.) Cut up butter and add to pan, along with 1 tablespoon oil, swirling to combine. Add leeks to pan and stir to coat with butter and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons water, stir again and cover the pan. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally and adding water a tablespoon at a time if the leeks seem too dry. I added 3 tablespoons through the course of melting the leeks. The leeks don’t truly “melt,” by the way – they won’t be like a confit or jam. But they will be buttery soft. You can make ahead to this point and keep them covered on the stovetop.

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