Scallops are the perfect summertime food — light, yet filling, flavorful, but also versatile enough to pair with all sorts of foods. In this case, with salad.
I call for sea scallops here, which are available all summer long. But make sure to confirm that the bivalves in question are “dry” scallops or “day boat” scallops. Both terms guarantee that the scallops were harvested and brought right to market. Too often scallops are harvested at sea, shucked, and tossed into a wet solution containing phosphates, where they sit for days before making it to market.
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Sara Moulton was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. She currently stars in public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and has written three cookbooks.
WARM SCALLOP SALAD WITH CARROT-GINGER DRESSING
The dressing will make about 1 1/4 cups, but this salad will need only about 1/2 up. Refrigerate the rest for use on grilled chicken, fish, pork or vegetables.
1 cup chopped carrot
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
4 scallions, sliced, white and green parts kept separate
3 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 to 4 tsp. chili-garlic sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup, plus 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup water
1 lb. sea scallops, tough muscle discarded and scallops patted dry
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup Wondra flour (or all-purpose)
6 cups arugula
2 cups chopped cucumber
1 mango (or 2 peaches or nectarines), peeled, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup toasted peanuts
In a blender, combine the carrot, ginger, white parts of the scallions, rice vinegar, soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, sesame oil, 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil and the water. Puree until very smooth. Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper, dip them lightly in the flour, coating them on both sides and shaking off the excess, then add them to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the scallops until they are just cooked through, about 2 to 4 minutes a side (depending on the size of the scallops).
Divide the arugula, cucumbers and mango among 4 salad bowls. Top the salads with the scallops, scallion greens and peanuts, then drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dressing over each salad. Serve right away. Serves four.