Curry powder gives sweet scallops an Asian twist, and the tomatoes provide an acidic contrast to the scallops' richness.
Wine Recommendation: Bittman writes: "Inexpensive rugged red, like Zinfandel or Syrah from California, no-name wine from the south of France or Chianti." A rough-and-tumble Barbera from California's Sierra Foothills is another good choice.
For the rice:
* 1 1/2 cups long-, medium- or short-grain rice, rinsed and drained
* 2 1/2 cups water
* 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
For the scallops:
* 3 medium ripe tomatoes
* 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 to 2 pounds large sea scallops
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons curry powder or to taste
* 1/2 cup heavy cream, sour cream or plain yogurt, optional
* Juice of 1 lime
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
To prepare the rice: Combine it with the water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water starts boiling, stir and lower the heat to medium, so that it still bubbles but not furiously.
After 8 to 12 minutes, small craters will appear on the surface of the rice, indicating that the water is almost all absorbed. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low, and cook until tender, about 5 more minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve. The rice can sit for up to 1 hour before serving.
To prepare the scallops: Core the tomatoes and cut them in half horizontally. Gently squeeze out the liquid and shake out most of their seeds. Chop their flesh into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside. Heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes. While it is heating sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper and spread the curry powder on a plate.
Add the oil, then quickly dredge the scallops lightly in the curry powder and add them to the pan. About 2 minutes after you added the first scallop, turn it—it should be nicely browned (if it is not, raise the heat a bit). When the scallops are all browned and turned, cook for another minute, then add the tomatoes and cream if you are using it. (If you are using yogurt, lower the heat immediately; it must not boil.)
Heat the tomatoes through, then taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Sprinkle with the lime juice, stir in the cilantro and serve with the rice.