Friday, May 13, 2011
Seared Scallop Salad
I remember very specifically the first time I really tried scallops. I was taken out for a fancy night on the town in San Francisco by a new beau. All dressed up, we went to a wonderful restaurant before heading to the symphony. Both relative novices to fancy dining, we went with a prix fixe menu of several courses. After some grilled calamari with particularly large suckers, a plate of sauteed scallops was delivered to our table. He immediately dove in to take a bite, I hesitated. But, not wanting to dampen the evening, I ventured to give them a try with the determination not to show any adverse reaction. As usual, my fretting was for naught: the scallops were delicious. Sweet, creamy, and fresh, they were easily my favorite part of the meal.
Later I bought some at a farmers' market to try making them myself. With such easy success, they are now one of my favorite meals to make as a treat. I like serving them over salad to keep the flavors light. Look for nicely large, fresh scallops for the best flavor and texture.
- Start by preparing your salad. You want everything else ready before you cook the scallops. I used a combination of mache and spring greens. I topped the greens with some red onion and avocado. Some grapefruit would also be delicious. Make sure you season your salad with a dash of salt-- you'll use less dressing this way.
- Mix a light vinaigrette of lemon juice, whit wine vinegar, olive oil, and pepper. Set aside.
- Wash your scallops and pat dry. Cut off the tough little tab of connective tissue on the side if it hasn't been already done. Lightly sprinkle the scallops with sea salt.
- Heat a stainless steel pan to medium-high. I do not recommend using non-stick as you won't get a proper sear.
- When the pan is hot, add a small pat of butter.
- Right after the butter melts, add the scallops. They should sizzle.
- Turn the scallops once after about 60 seconds. They should release easily. You're not looking to cook them through so much as just sear the outside. Overcooked scallops will become tough.
- After another 60 seconds, remove the scallops from the heat. Place them on their salad bed and drizzle the vinaigrette evenly over everything.