Seared Scallops (with fresh greens)
by Charlie Burke
Have you ever tried frying scallops, only
to have them exude a milky liquid which
prevents their browning? The resulting
pale and unpalatable scallops have
been soaked in a preservative which
extends their shelf life and, incidentally,
increases their weight by ten to twenty
To ensure that you are getting fresh scallops
which are probably harvested locally, ask
for either “diver’s scallops” or “fresh packed scallops”. The former are hand
harvested by divers, are large and usually end up in high end restaurants; the
latter previously were available only in select fish markets but are now
frequently found in supermarkets. Both are
unadulterated and worth the extra cost.
This dish celebrates fresh New England seafood and the delicious greens
available now at farm stands and farmers’ markets. If you haven’t done so, try
different greens such as arugula, raddichio, mustards and mesclun mixes in
addition to fresh lettuce. Mix and match – they all work in this recipe and in any
salad with an assertive vinaigrette. This is a “fall back” recipe in our house
whenever we’re looking for a tasty, light lunch to serve visiting friends.
1 pound scallops, muscular attachment removed
corn meal and flour for dredging (1/4 cup corn meal to
3/4 cup flour)
salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
6 cups mixed greens
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Whisk together lemon juice, oil and mustard; add salt and pepper to taste Toss
with greens immediately before serving
To Prepare Scallops:
Heat a heavy sauté or fry pan over high heat and film with canola oil
Add salt, pepper and cayenne to flour mix and lightly coat both flat surfaces of
Cook scallops on one side until nearly opaque,
resulting in one side’s being nicely browned.
Turn briefly to complete cooking. Remove individual scallops as they become
opaque and spring back when pressed.
Serve over the greens with crusty bread and a slightly acidic wine such as a
Sauvignon Blanc or a Sancerre from France.
About the author
An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charles Burke is the vice president of the
New Hampshire Farmer’s Market Association (www.nhfma.org) and helps run
the Sanbornton Farmers' Market. Along with his wife, Joanne, he grows certified
organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.