Sea scallops are so innately sweet and supple, they require little beyond a quick turn in a hot skillet.
Most nights, anyway.
For those times when a somewhat elegant embellishment is desired, however, consider a tart pan sauce and quickly sauteed greens. Not only do the flavors meld perfectly, but the components can be cooked sequentially in the same skillet in less than 30 minutes.
- 12 large sea scallops
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 pound escarole or bok choy greens, thinly sliced or torn into 2-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
Pat the scallops dry.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the scallops to the skillet, being careful not to crowd the pan. (You may need to cook in batches or in 2 skillets; if the scallops are crowded, the moisture they emit cannot escape and they will steam, not sear.)
Cook the scallops, without moving them, until the bottoms are golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Using tongs or a spatula, gently turn the scallops and cook them just until opaque throughout. (If uncertain, remove a scallop from the skillet and cut it open to check.) Transfer the scallops to a dish; cover to keep warm. (The scallops will continue to cook slightly.)
Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add the escarole or bok choy greens and stir-fry just until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and divide among individual plates.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add the vinegar and stock and simmer, stirring to scrape the bottom of the skillet, until the sauce is reduced to about 1/4 cup and forms a glaze that will coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the scallops to the plates and spoon the sauce around the scallops and greens.
From the Williams-Sonoma kitchen.
Tested by Renee Schettler.
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