Scallops with White Wine Beurre Blanc and Lemon Orzo. (Nealey Dozier / May 2, 2013)

Scallops are an easy and underrated weeknight meal, and I know this from experience: I never seem to think about them as a dinner option, but when I do it's always a slap-hand-to-forehead kind of moment. Scallops sear in mere seconds. And although whipping up a beurre blanc (aka white butter sauce) may seem intimidating to the uninitiated, it's actually one of the easiest and tastiest classic sauces to know.

This recipe for scallops with orzo is the ultimate "30-minute meal." Scallops are available year-round and don't require the technical know-how that might deter folks from other fish and shellfish. Just pluck off the abductor muscle (the small, tough patch they use to clamp themselves shut), pat them dry, and pan sear for a minute or two. Seriously, it's that easy!

There are plenty of sauces that pair well with scallops. Come summer, a corn and tomato relish is all you need. But other times, it's well worth calling in the heavy hitters -- I can't think of anything better than a rich, tangy beurre blanc to drizzle on my dinner. I know some people are afraid of a sauce made almost entirely of butter, but trust me when I tell you that a little goes a long way. (Or if you're like me, a lot goes a long way.)

For the perfect "anytime" dinner, pair it with lemony orzo pasta and a crisp green salad. A very cold glass of white wine is optional but highly recommended!

Scallops with White Wine Beurre Blanc and Lemon Orzo

Serves 4-6, and can be easily scaled up or down

For the beurre blanc:

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 large shallot, finely chopped

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cubed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the orzo salad:

1/2 pound dried orzo pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 lemon, zest and juice

2 tablespoons chopped chives

For the scallops: