Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Scalloping along

Scallops are a natural when it comes to the summer table. These sweet, succulent little orbs cook up quick -- little adulteration is needed to highlight their fresh-from-the-ocean taste. Many folks prefer scallops that have been fried, but come summer, you know that hips don't lie! Set that fryer aside and take a walk on the lighter side.

I'd been contemplating some sort of scallop salad, rife with citrusy flavor. My thoughts soon strayed to tabbouleh, cool and composed with bulgur, fresh herbs and bits of vegetables. I whipped up a version using basil in place of the traditional mint, then set it aside for the flavors to properly mingle. Of course, you can always turn to Medik's Market or Trader Joe's for quality, prepared tabbouleh.

That done, I set about taking care of the scallops. Patted dry and dusted with a touch of salt and pepper, they went into a piping hot nonstick pan, along with a judicious amount of garlic.

The melted butter turned the exterior into a beautiful, burnished golden brown and, after one quick flip, I moved them to the side.

After turning up the heat, in went a good glug of white wine, along with some freshly squeezed lemon juice. My wooden spoon scraped up the yummy bits from the bottom, while the liquid thickened ever so slightly. Reducing the heat to medium, I added the scallops back in, just until warmed through.

Finally, the moment of truth was at hand. I piled the scallops atop the cool salad, drizzling them with some of the pan juices. With a generous sprinkling of lemon zest, it was done. The taste? Everything that's great about cool summertime food.

Basil-Tabbouleh Salad

1 cup fine-grain bulgur wheat
2 cups boiling water
2/3 cup equal parts minced fresh parsley and minced fresh basil
1 bunch green onions, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
1 English cucumber, peeled and sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 medium lemons, or to taste
Salt and pepper, as needed

To prepare, place bulgur in heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes or until bulgur has softened. Drain thoroughly.

Place the bulgur in a large bowl and add the parsley, basil, green onions, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, oil and lemon juice.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is better).

Citrusy Scallops
1 dozen large (10 count per pound) sea scallops
Salt and pepper
1½ - 2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
2 lemons, zested, juices reserved

Pat the scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic until just beginning to soften and color. Add the scallops and cook until browned on each side (if using a smaller skillet, cook them in batches). Remove and set aside.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine and lemon juice until liquid is slightly reduced. Add the scallops back in and heat just until warmed through. Serve immediately over tabbouleh salad and garnish generously with the lemon zest. Yield: Serves 3.


Blogger Kalyn said...

Oh yes, I would love some of this salad. I just love scallops; interesting way to use them in a salad.

5:26 PM  
Blogger sher said...

I want some too, please! The colors in that photo are so appealing. It looks like a perfect dish to me. :)

10:22 PM  

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