This is my latest favorite meal. Seared scallops. They make me feel like a ninja gourmet because it is so easy to make them look a lot fancier than they really are. I don’t really have time to cook these days, so when I get to turn a quick dinner into something that looks like this, it makes up for it.
I wish I could say they were fresh from the ocean, but before I got to them, these were nothing more than a bag of frozen large scallops from Safeway. That’s how easy it was. I let them defrost, layered them in paper towels to absorb the extra moisture and heated up some grape seed oil in a pan. I read somewhere that this is a high smoke-point oil, which makes it good for searing at a high temperature. It is also a very light oil in terms of flavor, so good for uses where olive oil might intrude into the delicate inherent taste of the dish.
As an aside, Canola oil falls into these categories as well, but I’m suspicious of that particular oil (what’s a Canola anyway?) and recently opted for grape seed with great satisfaction. Read here for more info on the origins of Canola oil and here for why it’s stigmatized (be sure to read to the bottom where most of those accusations are actually debunked too.) But let’s get back to the kitchen.
I seasoned the scallops lightly with salt and pepper, tossed some chopped garlic into the hot oil to infuse it with the flavor, then laid the scallops seasoned-side down. I salt and peppered the exposed tops as they cooked and let them go for about 4-5 minutes, until I could see some brown around the bottom edges. The garlic had started to burn by this time, so as I flipped each scallop over I pushed it to the center of the pan away from them. After about 2 more minutes, I plated the scallops and dusted them with a cilantro-lime-ginger gremolata, or more simply, tiny chopped up pieces of cilantro, lime zest and ginger. Viola!
Article and Images courtesy of Noelani Price: http://www.winecountryeats.com/