You don’t need a culinary diploma to achieve beautifully seared, restaurant-quality sea scallops on your own stovetop. A good, heavy skillet (not nonstick), a watchful eye, and a few simple tricks is really all you need to pull off this impressive-seeming feat. And these days, the individually flash-frozen scallops available in your supermarket freezer case can taste as tender and sweet as the ones fresh off the boat.
Scallops are a low-fat, nutrient-loaded source of protein that plays well with numerous flavor combos.This fast one-skillet meal, adapted from Alison Roman’s “Nothing Fancy,”is a keeper — full of tang, spice, and vitamin C. Canned white beans, tossed in the sizzling skillet for a few minutes before serving, supply a starchy component that melds deliciously with the other ingredients. You can easily reduce the number of scallops if you’re only cooking for two — but go ahead and use the whole can of beans. Any leftovers can be mixed with the other ingredients for a salad the next day. Serves 4. RECIPE HERE. – Susan Puckett
• 4 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and thinly sliced
• 2 tangerines or small oranges, peeled, thinly sliced, and seeds removed
• 1 small jalapeño chile, thinly sliced (seeds removed for less heat)
• 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
• 2medium limes, 1 juiced (about 2 tablespoons) and 1 cut in wedges for serving
• 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 ½ pounds sea scallops, thawed according to package directions if frozen, tough side muscles removed
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
• 2 teaspoons Aleppo-style pepper or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
• Tender cilantro leaves and stems for garnish
• Corn tortillas or rice for serving, optional
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatillos, tangerines, chile. shallot, lime juice, and 4 tablespoons of the olive oil; season with ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste) and several grindings of black pepper and set aside.
- Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and season them lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.
- In a large, cast-iron or other heavy skillet (not nonstick), heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallops in batches to avoid crowding the skillet and press them lightly with a fish spatula for good contract with the skillet. Sear on both sides until deeply browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Transfer the scallops to a large plate or serving platter. Without wiping out the skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, followed by the beans and the pepper flakes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges.
- Cook, shaking the skillet occasionally, until the beans have absorbed the seasoned juices in the pan, about 3 or 4 minutes.
- Transfer the tomatillos and citrus to a large serving platter, top with the beans and scallops, and garnish with cilantro. Drizzle with a little more oil before serving. Serve with tortillas or rice if desired.
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.