For dinner, a carefree, garlicky voyage to the sea

I was on my way to pick up steaks for dinner when I spied beautiful bay scallops in the fish market in Whole Foods. What happened? I forgot all about the steaks. Before I knew it, I was telling the fishmonger to bag me up a pound of those luscious fruits de mer.

(READ MORE: Pricey scallops worth an occasional indulgence)

Mixing them into a simple gratin seemed like just the thing to do with them for our dinner on a nice autumn evening. Most gratins are simple, but when all the ingredients work together, they have a complexity of flavors. You don't want to cover up the flavor of the sweet scallops, so all that this gratin needed was some garlic, a few scallions and a little hot pepper to season them.