Pan-Seared Scallops with Lemon Vinaigrette

December 2009


12 ounces sea scallops, thawed if frozen 2 lemons
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

2 to 3 fresh basil sprigs, including stems
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, cut into strips (optional)


1. Rinse the scallops and pat dry. Set aside.
2. With a sharp knife, score one lemon lengthwise in four sections and remove the peel from each section. Scrape the white portion from the peel; discard. Cut the peel into very thin strips and set aside. Squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice from the lemon; reserve.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes; season to taste with the salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm.
4. Combine the lemon peel, basil sprigs, and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet. Cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Remove the lemon peel and basil sprigs with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil in the skillet; discard.
5. Cook the scallops in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes or until opaque, turning once. Stir in the reserved lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
6. Place the scallops over the asparagus mixture. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges. Garnish the scallops with the wedges and, if desired, the fresh basil.

Nutrition facts per serving: 190 calories, 16g protein, 6g carbohydrate, 11g fat (1g saturated), 1g fiber

The Freshest Catch

To find the best-tasting scallops, ask at the seafood counter if the dry-packed kind are available, says Quinn Hatfield, chef and owner of Hatfield’s Restaurant in Los Angeles. Highly perishable seafood is often treated with a preserving solution to extend freshness for several weeks; this can affect the color, taste, and cooking time. Dry-packed means that no solution was used and the scallops were caught within the past few days. Also, make sure that the scallops are intact and translucent. “If they look milky or smell fishy, don’t buy them,” Hatfield says. Cook them the same day you buy them. To clean, rinse under cold water, peel off the muscle found on the side of each scallop, and pat dry.

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