The weather is getting warmer and it’s time for a light dinner item like Seared Scallop Salad featuring spring greens, mango, radishes and red onions. Top this off with a simple balsamic vinaigrette: olive oil, lime zest and juice, garlic, salt and a touch of good balsamic vinegar.
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Seared scallops are speaking to me….love ’em, love ’em.
This is the second time I’ve made seared scallops in the past couple of weeks. Our fishmonger, Jensen Bros., put them on sale, so of course, I had to pick some up. These are 10-20 size and a dozen of them weigh just under 14 ounces.
Making Seared Scallops
Make sure that the scallops you buy are dry-packed. This means that they are not treated with a water and sodium tripolyphosphate solution. This is a preservative and generally these scallops are frozen. If the scallops are loaded with water they just won’t sear well. I even put the scallops on a paper towel lined plate a couple hours before cooking to suck out additional moisture.
You’ll also notice that the scallops still have a bit of the muscle that attaches to the shell. That’s the white part really noticeable on the one in the top right corner of the picture above. Just slice that muscle off with a sharp knife. Make sure you check them all…some will have it and some won’t.
Use a nice heavy pan like the cast iron one I used here. It will retain the heat and give a nice char to the scallops. I use a laser thermometer to keep the temperature between 375° to 400°.
Lightly salt one side of the scallops and once the skillet is up to temperature, set them salted side up in the skillet without crowding. I could only do eight at one time. Set a timer for 2 minutes. Don’t touch them, just let them sizzle away.
After 2 minutes, use a pair of tongs to check the underside for a good sear. Give the scallop a little twist while picking it up. If it doesn’t want to let go, cook for another 30 seconds. Once seared well, they will let go and you can turn them over.
After you turn them, cook for another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
Seared scallop salad
I kept the salad simple….organic greens, red onion slivers, and thin sliced radishes. The beautiful ripe mango added a perfect little bit of sweet tang that pairs perfectly with the balsamic dressing.
You could also use orange supremes–sectioned orange wedges cut from between the bitter membrane in citrus fruits. With a small sharp paring knife, it is easy to do.
When you make the dressing, be sure to use a well aged balsamic vinegar. It will be expensive, but the flavor is so much more intense than cheaper balsamic. I used just one teaspoon of balsamic to make 2 ounces of dressing.
If you are in the mood for a light, summery dinner item, try this delicious seared scallop salad.
Here are some more tasty recipes to try:
- Seared scallops with garlic pasta
- Bacon wrapped scallops with mango salsa
- Seared scallops with lobster brandy sauce
Seared Scallop Salad with Balsamic Dressing
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lime 1/2 of the lime zested and all of the juice of the lime
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 12 10-20 size dry pack sea scallops
- 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil for frying
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3 oz. spring greens mix
- 3 large radishes, sliced thin
- 1/4 red onion, sliced
- 1 mango, cut into cubes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a container with a screw-on cover. Shake well to combine.
Seared Scallop Salad
- Place scallops on a paper towel lined plate and refrigerate uncovered about 2 hours prior to frying.
- Remove the scallops from the refrigerator and remove any remaining muscle with a sharp knife.
- In a heavy skillet, such as cast iron, add the canola oil and heat over medium temperature until the oil starts to shimmer, (375° to 400°). Lightly salt one side of the scallops, then place them, salted side up, into the skillet for 2 minutes.
- After 2 minutes, use tongs to release the scallop from the skillet and check the underside for a good sear. A golden even char is what you are looking for. If not seared enough, let the scallop remain for another 30 seconds. (This side of the scallop will be your "presentation" side when plated). Turn each of the scallops over and sear the second side for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.The body of the scallop should start to be totally opaque. Remove from the skillet and keep warm.
- Assemble the salad with greens topped with onion, radishes and mango. Coat each salad with half of the balsamic dressing. Plate the scallops on top of the salad and enjoy.
Be sure to try these other delicious recipes:
I am always looking for helpful hints on cooking scallops. I failed miserably once and have not braved a 2nd try. After reading your advice on choosing fresh scallops and making sure they are dry in order to sear them, I will give it a try. I just printed out your recipe and will give it another go! Thank you! Love your pictures.
Hi Millican. Thanks for the nice comment…they should turn out great this time.
These scallops really are the bomb! They are tender and sweet with that beautiful golden crust, and they pair beautifully with the mango, radishes, red onion, and vinaigrette. You’ll think you’re at a swanky resort on an island in the Caribbean with swaying palm trees and shimmering turquoise sea. Yeah, this recipe is that good!