Here’s an idea for a super easy meal that can only get better depending on the quality of the ingredients you use. I was standing in the Union Square Greenmarket recently, completely unprepared and slightly overwhelmed as usual, and ended up with a bag of crisp, peppery mesclun greens (you can’t believe how much better they taste than store bought containers), a jar of Rick’s Picks pepi pep peps (if you haven’t tried Rick’s Picks collection of deliciously pickled things, you MUST, it’s worth the $10 I promise), and fresh scallops from the fish dudes.
The next day, I made a seared scallop salad that took about 27 seconds to throw together and tasted so fresh and so good I think it’s worth repeating. Really, you can throw anything in your salad, the most important thing is cooking the scallops right and getting them right on the salad so the greens can absorb the pan juices and get a little wilted and delicious.
Toss the scallops with salt, coarse black pepper and curry powder. Set aside.
Clean the greens, slice up the pepi pep peps (red peppers pickled with chiles and ginger, yum), throw in some avocado (which I had sitting around, and I love) and whatever else you want.
Slice half a shallot nice and thin, mince the other half (for salad dressing)
Get about a tablespoon oil (I used grapeseed) nice and hot, shimmering but not smoking over medium high heat in a nonstick pan. You want the pan covered, but not swimming, in oil. Throw in the shallots and let them get crispy (I like crispy bits, plus it flavors the oil)
The pan should be sizzling when you add your scallops. Let the first side get golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, and flip them to the other side using tongs. You want the heat high because you’re cooking it for a short time, so it captures all the flavor on the outside, and the inside will cook, but it will remain juicy (and they’ll cook a bit after you remove them from heat).
Place them over your salad, and if you want, pour the pan juices over the salad.
For the dressing, an easy lemon vinaigrette is great: you need good extra virgin olive oil, the juice from a quick squeeze of half a lemon, mix in the shallots, some salt and pepper, and shake it until it emulsifies. Done.