Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Seared Sea Scallops with Yuzu Ginger Glaze on Greens with Miso Sesame Dressing

Seared Sea Scallops with Yuzu Ginger Glaze and Miso Sesame Dressing
I'm slowly making progress on my list. I cooked scallops for the first time the other day and I didn't screw up and turn them into little hockey pucks! Hooray! I usually don't make these type of fancy-pants dishes with mile long names but this one was truly stellar. Now that I know how to sear scallops, I can make this dish for company because it looks and sounds super gourmet. ;) But just between you and me, it's as simple as plating some prewashed bagged greens, whisking together a dressing, and searing the scallops in literally 2 minutes. You don't even need the yuzu ginger glaze but it does add a nice "flavor profile". The dressing itself is my new favorite and it's a nice change from the vinaigrettes I usually make. After seeing how easy it is to cook scallops, now I don't have to pay $15 for a tiny plate of salad or deal with an inattentive waiter, I just get the beau to do the dishes.

Seared Sea Scallops with Yuzu Ginger Glaze on Greens with Miso Sesame Dressing
Serves 4 as an appetizer

1 1/2 pound sea scallops 10/20s (10 - 20 per pound)
Salt and pepper
Vegetable or canola oil

Yuzu ginger glaze
2 Tbsp yuzu marmalade
1/2 tsp grated ginger

Miso Sesame Dressing
1 Tbsp miso (yellow or white)
1 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp mayo
1 tsp sesame oil

7 oz. salad greens: mixed greens, baby arugula, baby spinach, or watercress will all work (may not need the whole bag)
2 Tbsp sesame seeds (white, black, or combination), toasted in skillet

Since the scallops cook in literally 2 minutes, the prep for the rest of the dish must be done before you begin cooking the scallops. The dressing and glaze can be made ahead of time.

Season the scallops with salt and pepper and keep them sandwiched between two layers of paper towels in order to draw away any moisture from the scallops because they will exude a lot of moisture.

Even though the arugula I bought was prewashed, I like to give it one more wash, then spin dry in the salad spinner. Set aside to dry.

Meanwhile prepare the rest of the components for the dish. In a small saucepan, add the yuzu marmalade and 2 tablespoons of moisture. Bring to boil, lower to a simmer and simmer until it is your desired consistency. Whisk in the minced ginger, remove from heat and set aside.

In an empty skillet add the sesame seeds and toast over medium heat until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes. I use a 1:1 ratio of white to black sesame seeds. It's much easier to gauge the doneness of white seeds but a combination of the two give a better aesthetic appeal.

Plate the greens before cooking the scallops.

Heat a nonstick or cast iron skillet over high heat. You want the pan very hot in order to get a good sear on the scallops. The scallops are cooked in two batches so the liquid doesn't flood the pan and they steam and stew in their juice. Cooking for two is easier since you can divide the recipe in half and cook the scallops in one batch. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and pat the scallops dry right before you add them and add half of the scallops in the pan. The scallops should have plenty of room. Cook them on the first side for 1 - 2 minutes. They should have a golden brown crust. Remove the first batch to a plate, do not cook the second side yet. Wipe out the skillet by holding a wad of paper towels with tongs and add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan again. Wait for the oil to heat up and add the rest of the scallops, cooking them 1 - 2 minutes a side. Now flip these scallops over to the second side to sear and add the first batch back into the pan. Cook the scallops for only 30 seconds to a minute on the second side. The second side doesn't have to be cooked as long or seared for color, you only want to cook them through.

Divide the scallops onto the four plates, with the seared side up for presentation. To glaze the scallops, you can either spoon the glaze on each scallop or just toss all of them in the glaze to coat. I chose to spoon the glaze on, it was a bit more fussy and more work, but it looks a little better. :) Then drizzle the plate with dressing and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.

Serve immediately.

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