Faced with the problem of choosing the dinner menu yet again, Mr. Henry sallied forth with characteristic boldness.
Although when he entered the grocery store he hadn’t a clue what to buy, like Sister Maria he had confidence in confidence alone.
Sea scallops lay glistening on a bright bed of chipped ice, their silken bodies firm and pink. Inspiration struck.
He recalled a marvelous summer salad of spinach, white beans, scallops, and bacon bits.
Could it be winterized?
Scallops quickly sautéed in bacon fat are a personal favorite. Bacon goes well with spinach. Bacon and spinach go well with white beans – great northern or cannellini. All good, all good, but weren’t these flavors all too mild? A proper dish must have balance. Where was the acid?
In summer fresh peaches go perfectly in that salad, the whole dressed in white balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Now in winter what fruit would work? Wouldn’t lemon juice be too strong?
The answer was grapefruit, the most underappreciated citrus.
Back home Mr. Henry cut five strips of bacon into bit sizes and fried them to a light crisp. To half a chopped onion in olive oil he added herbs de provence and a splash of white wine (sauvignon blanc). Once the onions softened he added one can of great northern beans (drained) and let the mixture simmer.
Whole spinach leaves boiled for three or four minutes emerge dark and pliant. Once slightly cooled they can easily be sliced into manageable sizes.
After sautéing the scallops, he deglazed the pan with a little more white wine and added a splash more olive oil.
After mixing everything together and topping with chopped parsley, Mr. Henry sliced grapefruit sections and served them on the plate alongside the rest. The whole preparation took no more than 25 minutes.
A willful Little Henry objected to eating this satisfying ensemble with crusty brown sourdough bread, so an ever indulgent father quickly boiled some fresh pasta.