Scallops (September 20, 2012)

To everything there is a season, or so it is said. And that includes grilling. Not that you won't venture out on a cooler evening to barbecue some chicken, but autumn is here — almost — and the desire to dine al fresco is waning along with the summer weather.

What to do? Well, host a dinner designed to highlight the transition from outdoors to indoors, the transition of our gardens from green to gold and orange.

Our menu du jour — for eight of our nearest and dearest — has quasi-Southwestern undertones. It begins with grilled pancetta-wrapped scallops with an herbed dunk.

Keep the grill fire going, though, because you'll next want to chargrill some pork chops to go with the tomatillo sauce you're going to fix. And while you're at it, throw on some baby zucchini. They'll go well with the baby spinach and avocado salad you're also going to whip up.

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For dessert, we employ the pale green of pears, along with berries, to bake up a blackberry-pear cobbler.

And, in keeping with our Green Scene, don't forget to proffer quaffs of that hue. Margaritas come to mind, of course. But crisp, fruity white wines will go well. Perhaps even a red with the pork. Or beer from green bottles for an "aperitif," as well as to accompany the chops.

Have fun …

Pancetta scallops

You can make the dunk in the morning and refrigerate until serving time. And, you can also wrap the scallops with pancetta and keep them chilled until you're ready to grill them.

If you want to add carbs to the proceedings, offer multicolored tortilla chips and a couple of different salsas.

The dunk

1/2 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 scallion, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 small garlic clove

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

The scallops

24 sea scallops, trimmed, if needed

24 large, fresh basil leaves, optional