Seared Scallops with Pesto

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seared-scallops-with-pesto

Seared Scallops with Pesto

I am craving this beautiful platter as I am looking at the photo above and writing this short introduction for it. This dish is a combination of my easy recipes and techniques,  like kale-walnut pesto, seared scallops (the technique always remains the same), my method of segmenting an orange and make easy potato chips. There is nothing complex about it but there are some extra steps that you can alter depending on your time availability as you go. As long as you remember few rules of thumb on how to reach a perfectly seared scallop with a gold crust exterior and still soft (not chewy) and tender interior, you will become a master chef yourself. First, make sure that scallops are super dry (pat them with paper towel on both sides) and seasoned last minute as they touch a very HOT! stainless-steel pan. Give them space, otherwise they will steam instead of caramelizing. And lastly, once they touch a hot pan, do not move them for one minute, the protein will release itself easily once they reach those beautiful results of golden caramelization. Ditto! Enjoy and let me know how they came out.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-ingredients

Ingredients: scallops, pesto, baby potatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet purple potato, blood orange, orange, basil, flaky sea salt, sea salt, mildly spicy red pepper, basil, olive oil.

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Roast tomatoes and potatoes: Preheat oven to 400F. Cut baby potatoes in half, then place them onto a small baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil.

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Season generously with salt and pepper.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-cut-cherry-tomatoes-in-half

Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-baking-sheets-with-veggies

Place cherry tomatoes, cut side up, onto a small baking sheet and repeat with oil and seasoning. Roast tomatoes for about 12 minutes, until softened and charred and continue roasting potatoes for another 5-8 minutes, until completely done.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-slice-purple-potatoes

Make the chips: Slice potato on a mandoline (thinnest setting). Set aside. Kitchen tip: Because we are using sweet purple potato for this recipe, there is no need to soak raw slices in cold water with salt to prevent the oxidizing process, these won’t change their bright purple shade.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-potato-chips

Heat oil in a medium pot to 365 degrees F or if you don’t have thermometer, until the oil is really hot and starts to smoke but doesn’t boil. Fry potato slices in small batches for about 30 seconds, lift up with slotted spatula and transfer to a baking sheet lined with wire rack to cool and drain extra oil (it prevents them from sagging). Season chips with salt while still hot. Proceed with the rest.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-segmenting-orangeseared-scallops-with-pesto-segmenting-blood-orange

Segment oranges: Slice off the bottom and top of an orange and using a paring knife carefully cut away rind in strips.

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I used two different kinds of orange, just to bring extra color to the plate but it totally up to you. One variety will be enough.

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Then working over the bowl, slice into fruit along each membrane letting supremes fall into the bowl. Set aside.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-orange-segments

I like to prep all my garnishing ingredients before I start searing scallops if I want to serve them hot.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-season-scallops

Sear the scallops: Wash scallops under cold running water and pat them very dry. Season scallops with salt and pepper.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-searing-scallopsseared-scallops-with-pesto-turning-seared-scallops

Heat a large stainless-steel frying pan over medium high-heat; add butter and a splash of vegetable oil to prevent it from burning. Add scallops to the pan, do not overcrowd, otherwise they will steam instead of caramelizing. Cook without moving them for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side (depending on scallops' size) or until golden crust is visible.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-cooked-scallops-chips

Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to blub extra oil or to a baking sheet lined with wire rack.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-perfectly-seared-scallops

With a wire rack/cooling rack option, it is also easy to keep scallops warm in the oven at 200F if not served right away.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-plating

To garnish, this dish can be served individually or as an appetizer family style for everyone to pick on. Depending on the presentation, smear a platter/or plates with thin layer of pesto; scatter scallops, roasted potatoes and tomatoes on top.

seared-scallops-with-pesto-zest-orangeseared-scallops-with-pesto-zesting-orange

Garnish with orange segments, potato chips, orange zest, and tiny basil leaves.

seared-scallops-with-pesto

Drizzle with olive oil slightly. Sprinkle with extra salt and pepper on top.

seared-scallops-with-pesto

 

Bon Appétit!
Svitlana

Seared Scallops with Pesto

recipe details

Serves 2-6

Ingredients

For the scallops  
  • 6 large scallops
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
For kale-walnut pesto
  • 2 cups baby kale
  • ½ cup basil
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Pinch of mildly spicy red pepper (Aleppo or Marash or just black pepper)
  • Salt to taste
To make potato chips 
  • 1 small sweet purple potato
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • Sea salt
To garnish 
  • ½ blood orange, segmented + zest
  • ½ orange, segmented
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 10 baby potatoes, cut in half
  • Olive oil to drizzle
  • Pinch of mildly spicy red pepper (Aleppo or Marash or just black pepper)
  • tiny basil leaves
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Make the pesto: Place kale, basil, nuts and garlic into food processor. Sprinkle with salt and pepper liberally. Pour ¼ cup olive oil over the greens. Blend by pouring the rest of oil in a slow stream, until pesto is nice and chunky. Squeeze lemon on top, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  2. Segment an orange: Slice off the bottom and top of an orange and using a paring knife, carefully cut away rind in strips. Then working over the bowl, slice into fruit along each membrane, letting supremes fall into the bowl. Set aside.
  3. Make the chips: Slice potato on a mandoline (thinnest setting). Set aside. Heat oil in a medium-size pot to 365 F or if you don’t have thermometer, until the oil is really hot and starts to smoke but doesn’t boil. Fry potato slices in small batches for about 30 seconds, lift up with slotted spoon and transfer to a baking sheet lined with wire rack to cool and drain extra oil (it prevents them from sagging). Season chips with salt while still hot. Proceed with the rest. Kitchen tip: Because we are using sweet purple potato for this recipe, there is no need to soak raw slices in cold water with salt to prevent the oxidizing process, these won’t change their bright purple shade.
  4. Roast tomatoes and potatoes: Preheat oven to 400F. Place baby potatoes onto a small baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper. Place cherry tomatoes, cut side up, onto a small baking sheet and repeat with oil and seasoning. Roast tomatoes for about 12 minutes, until softened and charred and continue roasting potatoes for another 5-8 minutes, until completely done.
  5. Sear the scallops: Wash scallops under cold running water and pat them very dry. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a large stainless-steel frying pan over medium high-heat; add butter and a splash of vegetable oil to prevent it from burning. Add scallops to the pan, do not overcrowd, otherwise they will steam instead of caramelizing. Cook without moving them for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side (depending on scallops' size) or until golden crust is visible. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to blub extra oil or to a baking sheet lined with wire rack. With a second option, it is also easy to keep them warm in the oven at 200F if not served right away.
  6. To garnish, this dish can be served individually or as an appetizer family style for everyone to pick on. Depending on the presentation, smear a platter/or plates with thin layer of pesto; scatter scallops, roasted potatoes and tomatoes on top. Garnish with orange segments, potato chips, orange zest, and tiny basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil slightly. Sprinkle with extra salt and pepper on top.
 

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