June 5, 2014 at 1:00 am

Simply the Best

Delectable scallops celebrate trip-to-be

The coconut on these scallops is toasted in the oven for about 10 minutes. (Kate Lawson / The Detroit News)

When disappointing news arrives Im the first person in the household to try to come up with an alternate plan. Dinner plans or an out-of-town visit canceled? No problem, we can reschedule. Power goes out? Good thing we have a generator. My husband calls me an incurable optimist, but Im not one to let circumstances dictate my life.

A few weeks ago, before a much-anticipated trip to Kenya was just days away, we got a call from our travel agent telling us that there was a travel warning to Kenya because of a bombing. The trip wasnt being canceled, but the government wanted to warn us because of the event. My husband took the call, then called me while I was at the market to tell me the news. Our first instinct was to cancel the trip, but we decided to talk it over further at dinner and not make any decisions until we knew all the facts.

Meanwhile, I decided that our dinner should be a good one; no one wants to sit around talking over life-changing matters while eating canned soup and soggy grilled cheese. So I headed straight for the seafood counter thinking shrimp or tuna would be just the meal to lift our spirits. And when I saw the sign offering fresh sea scallops on sale, I knew our luck was going to improve. We love scallops, but usually they are a bit too pricey. These were plump and fresh and affordable, and even the fishmonger was going to enjoy some for his evening meal.

That night, we sat over plates of coconut scallops and stir-fried snow peas with roasted tomatoes sipping a white bordeaux and weighed our options. In the end, we decided that we were going, and we were going to enjoy every minute of our adventure. I dont credit the scallops, but they sure tasted delicious once we made our decision.

Coconut Scallops

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

1 cups sweetened flaked coconut
2 cups boiling-hot water
teaspoon cayenne
teaspoon salt
10 medium sea scallops (about pound)
cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
cup vegetable oil
Lime wedges for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together coconut and water. Drain coconut in a sieve and pat dry. On a baking sheet, spread coconut in one layer and bake in middle of oven until pale golden, about 10 minutes. In a bowl, stir together coconut, cayenne and salt.

Remove tough muscle from side of each scallop if necessary. Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. In two separate shallow bowls, have ready flour and lightly beaten egg. Dredge scallops in flour, shaking off excess. Dip each scallop in egg, letting excess drip off, and coat well with coconut mixture.

In a 10-inch skillet, heat oil over moderate heat until hot (but not smoking) and cook scallops until golden and just cooked through, about 1 minutes on each side. Drain scallops on paper towels. Serve scallops with lime wedges. Serves 2.

Per serving: 753 calories; 51 g fat (19 g saturated fat; 61 percent calories from fat); 50 g carbohydrates; 20 g sugar; 138 mg cholesterol; 1,110 mg sodium; 24 g protein; 3.5 g fiber.