Monday, July 6, 2009

Cooking: Scallops

Pan-Seared ScallopsWhile at the grocery this morning, I noticed these succulent scallops, labeled "Wild - Chemical Free." Not sure how they know they're chemical free if they're wild, but they were irresistible. Into the cart they went.

We're changing the way we eat around here, eating less protein and grains and more vegetables and fruit. We're also avoiding dairy for the time being, so sautéing in butter, what I would usually do, was out.

Here's how I decided to do them (I made this up as I went along).

Pan-Seared Scallops
serves 2 (you might want more)

4 large scallops
1/2 Yukon gold potato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper (I used Mignonette pepper, a blend of black and white pepper with coriander seed)
1 teaspoon grated organic orange rind
1 teaspoon finely shredded fresh basil
coconut oil (or use olive oil)

In a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (it's usually solid at room temperature). When it's shimmering, lay the potato slices in a single layer. Push them around from time to time until golden, then season with salt and pepper and turn. Continue cooking until the tip of a paring knife just barely penetrates the center. Remove to a plate.

(At this point, I threw a bunch of wax beans, trimmed and cut in half, into the hot pan and cooked, shaking and flipping frequently until they started to brown in spots, then removed them and set aside.)

Add another teaspoon of coconut oil to the pan. While it's heating, dry the scallops thoroughly with paper towels. If you put them in wet, they will steam instead of browning. Season with salt and pepper, then place in the hot oil. Cook about 4-5 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown and slightly crusty, then flip them over and continue to cook another 4 minutes or so. Don't cook them until they're completely firm, or they will toughen.

A couple of minutes before the scallops are done, add the potato slices back into the pan to warm.

Pan-Seared Scallops
To plate, lay out two slices of potato and top with a scallop on each. Sprinkle with the grated orange zest and basil. Serve the remaining potatoes with the beans.

We had this with a salad made from sliced carrots, sliced snap peas, cubed avocado, and sliced orange. The orange juice, plus a small splash of walnut oil, salt and pepper makes a lovely bright-tasting dressing. Toss it all together and pile it on.

Dessert was fresh local raspberries and a Washington state apricot. So delicious.

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