Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Honey Garlic Scallops with Mixed Green Salad

With an abundance of mixed salad greens, 1 avocado and 1 mango to use, salad was an obvious choice. A quick stop at the store for some scallops, and dinner was turning out be pretty easy!

First get the salad greens prepped; I had the washed baby lettuces, but gave them a quick soak in cold water before drying them in a salad spinner. There was just enough citrus vinaigrette in the fridge from another salad a few nights ago. This was getting better and better...

Add  chopped red pepper and cucumber to the greens for colour and crunch. Set this all aside while the scallops are taken care of. Dice the avocado and mango and set aside.

The scallops I had were 20/40, which means there are between 20 and 40 scallops per pound. They averaged a diameter of around 1" , so I allowed 8 per person. First, make sure the little muscle on the side of the scallop is removed. It is a little rectangular piece, easy to spot, and just peels off with your fingers.

To give some sweetness to the scallops, and to enhance the caramelization that happens when you sear them, I decided to use honey, along with lemon and garlic to marinade them.

Mix together:
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon avocado oil
Pinch of salt and black pepper

Toss the scallops in this mixture to coat well and leave for about 15 - 20 minutes before cooking.

I also had a small piece of baguette and a bit of blue cheese to be used. The slices of baguette went onto a hot bbq to toast. While they were toasting the scallops had their turn on the bbq side burner.

To cook the scallops, you need a very hot pan. As their was oil coating the scallops from the marinade, a dry pan worked well. Add the scallops and leave to sear the first side, approximately 2 - 3 minutes, then turn over and sear the second side.

Scallops just starting to cook
Scallops with caramelization after turning

Toss the salad greens, red pepper and cucumber with your dressing and portion. Surround each salad with the diced avocado and mango and then place the warm scallops around the edge of the plate.

My husband wanted the blue cheese in the salad, so that was crumbled on top.

I wanted the cheese on the warm crouton, so this was my plate.

The honey emphasized the natural sweetness of the scallops and the tangy blue cheese complimented it.
All in all, an easy dinner out on the patio, just the two of us with a nice glass of wine. What could be better?

  • I used avocado oil, but feel free to try any oil you have. Something as strong flavoured as sesame oil will change the flavour profile of your salad, something mild like grapeseed oil will allow the flavour of the scallops to shine through.
  • If you like heat, try sprinkling the scallops with a pinch of cayenne pepper just before searing.
  • Scallops are very tender and almost creamy, and can overcook very easily. The same applies to marinading them, it is only to add flavour, so no acid is needed (citrus juice, vinegar)
  • Reduce balsamic vinegar over medium heat until it is thick and syrupy. Cool and drizzle over the seared scallops.
  • Enjoy chilled soups? Portion out your soup in a shallow bowl, then place 2 or 3 large seared scallops in the centre.
  • A salad like this allows creative freedom....have raspberries? Use those instead of mango.

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