For a light dinner, I like making sea scallops for my husband. He loves them but rarely gets to eat them since I’m allergic to shellfish. I’ve been making more of an effort to include them in the dinner schedule so his stomach is happy.
One of the best things about making scallops, and many seafood items, is how fast they cook. This is a 15 minute dinner, start to finish. That makes life a bit easier, doesn’t it? Another huge positive, they are also low in calories. If you are careful with your other ingredients, you can have a healthy dinner that is high in protein and only takes a few minutes to make. Win.
When cooking seafood I keep it pretty basic with my seasoning and additional ingredients. Scallops are delicate, you don’t want anything competing with it for top billing. Sam always tells me he wants the main taste to be the scallops, crabs, clams, etc… so I try to keep it simple and fresh for him.
Seared scallops really standout on top of a bed of baby spinach, arugula, Parmesan and crumbled bacon. The rich but delicate scallop, with a little crust from a good sear, pairs well with the tender baby spinach and peppery arugula. Throw in some bacon and a little Parmesan to add some nice saltiness and texture to the salad. Bacon and scallops (shrimp, clams and oysters too) are like a happily married couple, they compliment each other very well.
This also would make a great appetizer before digging into a big seafood dinner. Just use smaller portions.
Seared Sea Scallops with Baby Spinach and Arugula
8 sea scallops
4 oz baby spinach and arugula
3 bacon slices, crumbled
4 tablespoons olive oil, separated
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt + pepper
Fry bacon, set aside when finished.
Rinse and dry baby spinach and arugula. Whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Gently toss greens with dressing and plate. Garnish with a dusting of Parmesan cheese and bacon crumbles. Set aside until scallops are ready.
Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Pat sea scallops dry on a paper towel before cooking (this will help them sear). Season with salt and coarsely cracked fresh pepper and place in sauté pan. Do not overcrowd the pan. You don’t want the scallops to steam, it’s imperative to get a nice crust.
Cook for 2 minutes before flipping. Cook 1-2 additional minutes on other side until the scallop is golden and crispy on both sides. Do not walk away from the stove, overcooked scallops are basically inedible. 4 minutes max on these guys.
When the scallops are finished, plate them on top of the baby spinach and arugula salad and serve immediately.