Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Seared Scallops with Summer Salsa

 My boyfriend makes fun of me by saying that I am “bragging” instead of “blogging” because most people wouldn’t bother to actually make many of the high maintenance recipes I post.  It is true my love of food leads me to spend exorbitant amounts of time in the kitchen, and I completely understand that most people enjoy devoting time to other endeavors.  However, I truly believe that every single recipe on my blog is accessible to cooks of all skill levels if they are willing to try.  That is not to say all recipes will yield perfect results every time, but messing up is a part of becoming a better cook (I just don’t tend to share my mistakes).  I always joke that I learned to cook from the Food Network, but in reality the years I spent trying recipes on my college roommates, family, and friends have taught me my most valuable lessons. 

So before you dismiss this recipe as something too complicated to try, let me try to convince you to at least attempt it.  First, much of the preparation for this recipe can be done ahead of time.  The salsa actually gets better the longer it sits, so whip it up the night before, clean up the mess, and simply spoon over the scallops right before serving.  Second, scallops take about 5 minutes to cook.  The trickiest part of making scallops is to avoid overcooking them so that they don’t become rubbery.  If you stick to the cooking times, it is pretty hard to go wrong.  My only disclaimer is that having fresh scallops that have never been frozen is absolutely key (this is an example of a lesson I learned from a cooking disaster).  If you can’t find them fresh, change your game plan and serve the salsa over grilled shrimp instead.  Finally, you should try this recipe because it will be delicious and it will show you that scallops really aren’t too complicated.  And it will prove my boyfriend wrong.

On another note, this post is kind of my farewell to summer.  Next week’s post will mark my blog’s 2 year anniversary (also known as a blogiversary) and I am planning a very autumnal treat.  It involves some deep frying so keep your fingers crossed that I don’t scald myself…Also, Navy Blue Kitchen will also have an updated look starting next week!  My understanding of blog technology has come a long way in 2 years so I decided to upgrade.

Seared Scallops with Summer Salsaserves 4 as an hors d'oeuvre
2 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped
½ red onion, minced
Juice from one lemon
½ cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
8 fresh scallops that have NEVER been frozen
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Canola oil

Combine first four ingredients to make the salsa.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to serve. 

To prepare the scallops, remove the muscle on the side (it should come off easily when you pull- no knife necessary).  Rinse under cold water and then dry on paper towels.  Make sure the scallops are completely devoid of any moisture before searing them- this ensures they will brown nicely.  Season the scallops with salt and pepper.

In a non-stick skillet, add enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  Heat over moderately high heat until very hot.  You can test this by dropping a tiny bit of water in the oil- if it sizzles, it is ready.  Wear an apron because the oil will splatter.  Add half the scallops and cook without touching them for 1 minute.  Carefully turn them and cook for another 2 minutes.  Remove from pan and then cook the remaining scallops in the same manner.  Season the scallops with another sprinkle of sea salt and top with the salsa.  (Note: if you refrigerate the salsa, allow it to come to room temperature before serving).

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