Meandering the booths at the Fairfield farmer’s market, my mind becomes a jigsaw puzzle slowly piecing together dinner ideas. The summer treasure hunt lead me to the fish monger who had the big prize — Fresh Sea Scallops. Harvested within the last twenty-four hours, their sea salt perfume lingered as they were packed on ice and secured inside my bag. Rounding out my menu, a couple pints of heirloom cherry tomatoes vivid with their reddish-green and yellow hues and large peaches with steams intact whose sweet scent was captivating. Together, these items are an ode to the simple flavors of summer.
The secret to sensationally seared scallops is all in the pan and high heat. For best results use stainless steel or cast iron, because it heats evenly and takes high heat well. Don’t over cook these gems, truly, just a couple minutes per side is ideal; too long and you’ll end up with is something that tastes and resembles erasers. You know you have success when you see a slightly golden top and bottom, they spring a bit like pillow when touched. That first bite will melt in your mouth like butter.
I think summer is the best time to savor scallops and pair them with other fresh flavors. Ripe cherry tomatoes and sweet peaches are evocative of this season’s flavors. Both offer sweetness and a touch of acidity complimenting the meatiness of the savory mollusk. But don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat scallops anytime — in the fall or winter, they’re amazing topped on a bed of pureed cauliflower and they’re a hit of a cocktail party when wrapped in bacon. But right now, this meal is about savoring summer flavors.
Seared Sea Scallops with Tomato-Peach Salad
- 1 – 1.5 lbs. Sea Scallops
- 1 tsp. butter
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- Tomato-Peach Salad
- 2 pints’ cherry tomatoes cut into halves
- 1-2 large ripe peaches, cubed
- 1 tbs. fresh feta cheese crumbled
Make the salad
- Into a large bowl add the tomatoes and peaches and toss together. The salad can stay in the fridge as you prep the scallops. When you’re ready to plate the salad, just spoon onto the plate and top with some fresh feta cheese. If you want to add a dressing, drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top.
Seared Sea Scallops
- Prep the scallops by placing them on paper towel and thoroughly pat them dry. Salt and pepper each side. Heat a large your pan over high heat, adding the butter and olive oil. When your pan begins to lightly smoke, gently place the scallops into the pan. Don’t over crowd them, and give them breathing space. Cook the scallops 1 – 2 minutes per side. Serve immediately.