Seared scallops are really simple to prepare (despite what Hell’s Kitchen would have us believe) and really delicious. Anyone who has read this blog knows I’m all about simple and delicious, so these are right up my alley. There are so many recipes out there for basic seared scallops, so for a little value add I’ve included a (you guessed it, simple) recipe for a strawberry basil salsa that you can use to take them up a notch. This is a dish that can be prepared in about 10 minutes and is sure to impress.
Ingredients (for 3 large scallops)
- 3 fresh scallops (look for ones that are slightly off white / pink, rather than pearl white)
- salt and pepper
- olive oil and butter
- 6 small strawberries, finely chopped (make sure to use ones that are as ripe and juicy as possible)
- 1/4 tsp chopped basil leaves
- pinch of cayenne
- zest of 1/2 a lemon
- juice of 1/4 lemon
- Combine the chopped strawberries, lemon juice, about half of the lemon zest, cayenne and chopped basil in a small bowl and stir. Set aside.
- Rinse the scallops under cold water and then pat them dry with a paper towel, making sure to get them as dry as possible.
- Heat a bit of olive oil and butter in a frying pan over high heat, just until it starts to smoke a tiny bit.
Tip: Use a regular frying pan for searing scallops (i.e. not a non-stick one).
- Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on each side of the scallops and then drop them into the pan. Don’t crowd them.
- Sear for 1 minute and 45 seconds on each side. You want a golden brown crust and a translucent center.
Tip: Ideally, you want to sear each side without moving the scallops, but if you need to lift one to take a peek and see how that crust is coming along, it’s not the end of the world. These were pretty big scallops. If you have smaller ones then you’ll need to reduce the cooking time.
- Remove the scallops from the pan and set them on a paper towel for 30 seconds to drain any excess oil / butter.
- To plate: place the scallops on a small plate and top each with a bit of the salsa and a small basil leaf. Add a bit of extra salsa on the side. Sprinkle some lemon zest over the entire plate and serve.
Suggested wine pairing: Nothing too fancy or complex. Any light, crisp and citrusy white will do. I had these with the ultra affordable Si Soave.
The scallops had a nice salty crust with a sweet tender interior and the strawberry basil salsa was a great compliment to freshen up this dish. Wash it down with a crisp white and you’ll have an excellent start to any meal, particularly a summer one.