Are you tired of cooking scallops that turn out rubbery and chewy? Try this recipe and it will never happen again! The key to cooking a great scallop lies in the quality of the scallop you purchase and the way you handle this delicate ingredient. This is a go-to recipe in my house because it can be whipped up in a cinch and requires only 5 minutes of actual cooking. Oh, and I am obsessed with raw corn so I make some variation of this salad over and over to take advantage of the sweet, crunchy goodness of local corn because, Jersey corn really is the best! Trust me.
Like yesterdays Smoky Salmon with Grilled Peach and Tomato Salad recipe, this is two recipes in one! The corn and tomato salad truly celebrates the flavors of the season and can be served as a stand-alone side dish to most summer meals. Once you have the basic foundation of the recipe down you can play around with the flavor profiles quite easily. It tasted great with lemon, basil and balsamic or dill and citrus. You can even add smoked paprika in place of the cumin for a different dimension of flavor.
So, whats the secret to a good scallop? Make sure you purchase fresh scallops that have never been frozen for starters. Make sure to avoid scallops treated with sodium tripolyphosphate which can falsely plump up the raw scallop–but when you cook them, they release their water and can lose 20% or more of their size.
Then, in order to get that often elusive sear–make sure you dry the scallop prior to cooking them. Previously frozen scallops tend to be too wet so patting them dry does little good. If you skip drying your scallops or use a frozen or treated variety– they will essentially steam themselves in the pan as the water is released.
So, you have dried your fresh scallop and you are ready to get cooking! Make sure you pan is super hot–then put the scallop in the pan and DON’T TOUCH IT! I have found though working with many clients–that everyone wants to flip everything a million times! Just let it cook! Get a nice brown sear on one side (this takes about 1 1/2 minutes) then flip it and allow it to cook for 30 seconds or so. A well cooked scallop is medium to medium rare. Yum!
- 12 fresh, U-10 sea-scallops, cleaned and patted dry*
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 ears of corn, husked, kernels removed by shearing them from the cob with a sharp knife
- 2 cups of heirloom grape tomatoes
- 1/2 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Combine 1 tablespoons of olive oil with the raw corn kernels, tomatoes, herbs, vinegar, lime juice, zest and cumin in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Set aside.
- *Remove the foot of the scallop and pat them dry using a paper towel or dish towel
- Heat remaining oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Season the scallops with salt and pepper.
- Once the pan is hot, cook scallops for 1.5 minutes on the first side (creating a brown sear) then an additional 30 seconds on the second side.
- Serve the scallops topped with the salad.