Seattle Courant

Seared Scallop Salad

Seared Scallop Salad
By Robin MacPherson
February 15, 2009 05:02PM

Two large scallops are only about 150 calories, which is just perfect for this salad, and they're a good source of many important nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, magnesium and potassium. Of course, the fact that they're also succulent and delicious has nothing to do with them being healthy - that's just a bonus.

What you will need:
2-3 sea scallops per person (dry scallops, if you can find them)
2 Tbsp. butter or 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup of baby spinach
1 small carrot, sliced thinly.
1 small lemon
2-3 leaves of fresh basil, finely sliced
1 tomato, cut into cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
Salad leaves (baby spring mix, butter lettuce, romaine, etc.)
1/4 of a raddachio, cut into loose strips.

This serves two, but scales easily for more.

Mix the salad leaves (I went with a baby spring mix), the spinach and the sliced carrots together.
Mix the sliced basil and the tomato cubes together, then squeeze the lemon juice into the mixture. Mix this up with a spoon until everything is evenly distributed, then set aside. It should sit for about 10 minutes.

If you can't find dry scallops, be sure to rinse the scallops well in a salt-water mixture, then dry thoroughly with paper towels. Regardless of which kind you find, make sure you pat them very dry. This will help prevent them from steaming and let them get that nice crust we're going for.

Heat up a pan very, very hot. Add just a bit of light oil or 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and let it heat up. Set your scallops in, taking care not to let them touch each other and then let them cook. Don't move them. Depending on the size, you want 90 seconds to two minutes on the initial sear. Then, turn them over, add a whisper of butter (herbed butters are terrific for this) to the top of each one and let them cook for another two minutes or so. Take the pan off the heat and let it sit for another minute.

While the scallops are at rest, add the tomato-basil mixture to your salad, generously spreading it around. The lemon juice will make a nice contrast to the basil and will complement the buttery smoothness of the scallops.

For a simple, yet powerful variation of this recipe, use limes instead of lemons and cilantro in place of basil. It gives it a cool, crisp flavor that works just as well. Place your perfectly seared scallops on top of the salad and serve.