Asparagus paired with prosciutto and wrapped in crisp pastry makes an elegant appetizer or evening snack to go with that champagne toast at midnight. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Let’s welcome the new year with an elegant touch and hope for the best, shall we? It can’t hurt.

Whether you’re entertaining a few friends, having a cozy dinner for two or just treating yourself, make it count. Both the wrapped asparagus and the scallop dish can be made early in the day then baked later. I hope you’ve been taking advantage of the Maine scallop season and have some of these beauties (my fav seafood) tucked away in the freezer.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

The blood orange mimosa is one of my favorite cocktails, if not THE favorite. I first enjoyed this drink alongside Coquilles St. Jacques in a restaurant in Sandpoint, Idaho, on a frigid winter night. Forevermore, I shall think of the two together. And smile. This is the way I’ll ring in 2022. How about you?

Wrapped Asparagus

3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 30 long, thin strips
30 asparagus spears, trimmed
10 (14-by-9-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wrap one prosciutto strip around each asparagus spear in a long twist. Place one phyllo sheet on your work surface; cover remaining phyllo to prevent drying. Brush phyllo with olive oil. Cut crosswise into thirds to form three, 4 1/2-by-9-inch rectangles. Arrange one asparagus spear across one short end of each rectangle; roll up jelly-roll fashion. Arrange rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with more olive oil. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo, asparagus and olive oil. Bake for 8 minutes then sprinkle with Parmesan and bake 2-3 more minutes or until phyllo is golden and crisp and asparagus is tender. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 30 appetizers

Coquille St. Jacques

8 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups seafood stock, clam juice or chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste (see instructions)
4 large shallots (1 cup), diced
12 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup brandy or cognac
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (approximately 6 slices white bread, crusts removed, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor)
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
5 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds bay scallops or quartered sea scallops


Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When it foams, add flour and cook for approximately 4 minutes, whisking constantly. Add stock and whisk until smooth and thick. Add cream, curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring just to a boil then lower heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Place 3 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When it melts and foams, add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are clear and tender, approximately 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 8-10 minutes, until they are just starting to brown. Add brandy or cognac, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the alcohol has mostly evaporated. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir again to combine. Stir mushroom mixture into the cream sauce and set aside.

Combine bread crumbs, parsley and Gruyère in a large bowl. Stir to combine then moisten the mixture with olive oil, stirring again to combine.

Use last tablespoon of butter to grease six (1 1/2-cup) gratin dishes. Divide the scallops evenly among them and top with equal amounts of cream and mushroom sauce. Top each gratin dish with bread crumb mixture. Place dishes on a baking tray.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the baking tray with the filled gratin dishes in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and bubbling and the scallops are cooked through. Adjust seasoning if needed.

This recipe can also be baked in a 10-by-10-by-2-inch baking dish or in a medium oven-proof skillet. It can be made ahead then covered with foil or plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for a day. Yield: 8 servings

Blood Orange Mimosa

2 tablespoons fresh blood orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons triple sec
2/3 cup chilled Champagne
Blood orange twist

Pour juice and liqueur into a Champagne flute. Tilt the flute and carefully add Champagne. Garnish with an orange twist. Yield: 1 serving

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