Sea scallops are elegant in presentation yet incredibly fast and easy to prepare. Their sweet, creamy flesh cooks in about four minutes, making them the perfect entertaining dish. Prepare the salad ahead of time, bring it to room temperature, and dress it just before serving. Then sear and plate the scallops before your guests realize you’ve stepped away! If it’s a beautiful evening and you’re dining outside, brush them with canola oil, season with salt and pepper, and throw them on a medium-high heated grill instead. Serve with a crisp, chilled Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.
I created and photographed this recipe for the April issue of Sheridan Road magazine, wanting to share a recipe that embraced spring flavors yet transitioned to easy summer entertaining. And truth be told, I wanted a dish that would look beautiful in my antique Wedgwood shallow bowls. I have a serious china addiction, and these are one of my absolute favorite finds!
Seared Sea Scallops with Citrus Tarragon Confetti Salad
zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
2 tablespoons finely minced tarragon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/3 cup canola or safflower oil
8 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup fresh corn kernels, cut from about 1 1/2 cobs (or 1 cup best quality frozen, thawed)
1/2 of an English cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large red bell pepper, seeds and white ribs removed, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
Make vinaigrette: place orange zest, orange juice, lime juice, dijon mustard, shallots, tarragon, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified. Spoon three tablespoons of vinaigrette into a small bowl and reserve.
Fill a large bowl with ice water and place a colander in it. Set aside. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt well. Add green beans and carrots (and corn only if fresh) to boiling water and blanch for 1 minute, then remove with a strainer or slotted spoon and place immediately in ice water to stop cooking process. Drain vegetables well and place in a large bowl.
Add corn, cucumber, and bell pepper to bowl with green beans and carrots. Pour medium bowl of vinaigrette over vegetables and toss well to coat. Test for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Let sit at room temperature for half an hour, allowing flavors to marry.
Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat two tablespoons canola oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over moderately high heat until very hot. Add scallops to pan and cook for two minutes until golden, turn and cook for one and a half to two minutes more, until just cooked through (do not overcook – scallops should be slightly translucent in center when done).
Divide salad into four shallow bowls and top with scallops. Spoon reserved vinaigrette over scallops and serve.