From the Market — Week 3

Caramelized Scallops with Strawberry Salsa

I haven’t come close to using everything I picked up at the market this weekend, but here’s a good sampling of what we’ve had.

Strawberries. Oh, yes. Divine, luscious, sweet, knock-your-socks-off strawberries, the memory of which will drive me away from the display at the grocery store that tries to tempt me, so redly and smugly. “Hey Amy, it’s still summer. Doesn’t a large, mealy strawberry sound delicious right about now?” Erm, no. Even more so (possibly) than tomatoes, they’re just so much better from the local growers.

They deserved a more special treatment than sliced over homemade yogurt (though they popped up there, too), so I worked up a strawberry salsa to top caramelized scallops. I tempered the fruity salsa with red wine vinegar so it would balance the naturally sweet scallops.

And we both loved it — if only I’d made more than just the appetizer portion you see here! But I set some aside for a very different, but still delicious appetizer, inspired by this post at Chocolate & Zucchini. Instead of using smoked sea salt, I smoked the remaining scallops with alder chips in my Camerons Stovetop Smoker, but otherwise stuck to the general recipe, then topped them off with fleur de sel.

It wasn’t difficult, but was a bit more trouble than the original would be. I think I’d happily feature the radishes with smoked salt for a party, just for ease of assembly.

My refrigerator is also seriously stuffed with all sorts of greens which I haven’t delved into (much) yet, but weeknight dinners are looking up!

recipe after the jump

Caramelized Scallops with Strawberry Salsa

This salsa is a delicate balancing act between sweet and sour. If your strawberries are especially sweet (as mine were), you might need a touch more red wine vinegar. If they aren’t especially sweet, you could try adding a little sugar or maybe swapping red wine vinegar for balsamic vinegar to get something that tastes good to you. As always, experiment until you find the proportions you like.

2 handfuls ripe strawberries, cut into small dice
1/2 medium shallot, minced
2 tablespoons minced arugula & basil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or to taste)
1/2 lb. medium-to-large scallops, tough membrane removed
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
a few leaves of arugula & basil, cut into thin ribbons

Mix strawberries, shallot, vinegar and minced arugula and basil in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning till you get a nice balance between sweet and sour. (If your strawberries are as ripe as mine were, you might need a little more vinegar. If they’re not especially sweet, you could add a little sugar or use balsamic vinegar instead.)

Heat butter and olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Dry and season the scallops with salt and pepper. When butter and oil begin to shimmer, add the scallops to the skillet (be sure not to crowd them) and cook, not turning, for about 3 minutes, or until you see the white/cooked portion of the scallop rise to about halfway up the side. Flip scallops and cook for another minute or two, until cooked through.

Remove scallops to serving plate. Top each scallop with a spoonful of the salsa and garnish with ribbons of basil and arugula. Spoon a little of the vinegar sauce around them, if you like. (I do.)

  1. Beautiful photos and scrumptious food, I will be making this soon with our local strawberries and Pacific scallops. Thanks for the concept!

  2. Wow I love the idea of doing scallops and strawberries. Creative and different! I am gonna try it this summer. Your photos are awesome too. Thanks for sharing!

  3. These photos are absolutely stunning. I have only made scallops once before, but (surprise!) I overcooked them. I am inspired to try it again after seeing this!

  4. Made these for a decandent 5-course xmas dinner. Simple, easy, stunning and delicious! Thank you so much for this origingal and fabulous recipe

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    • Oh, it’s just a play on the crust, coupled with scallops’ natural sweetness. I didn’t add any sugar to the recipe.