Seared Scallops with Corn & Tomato Salad

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I'll confess — scallops are my absolute weakness. They're often my go-to when eating out and my go-to when dining in (especially when these babies are on sale!). Because scallops cook in a matter of minutes, it's the perfect entree if you're short on time or if it's just too dang hot to spend all night in the kitchen. 

When buying scallops, I look for sea scallops that are about the size of a half dollar coin. If you're unfamiliar with these suckers, bay scallops are the tiny ones that belong in pasta dishes, but, in my humble opinion, should never be served as a stand-alone meal. 

If you find a seafood counter that labels Sea Scallops by size, look for ones that have a U-10 designation, meaning that there are 10 or fewer in a pound. When they're that size, you'll be drooling over their rich, creamy texture. Plus, you only need about three or four to make a serving.

Since scallops are so buttery smooth, I'm pairing them with a fresh corn and tomato salad to give the dish some bite. For this recipe, all you need is sea scallops, grilled corn, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and lime. 

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In the summer, I love grilling corn on the cob in bulk. Maybe it's because I have such fond memories of eating it type-writer style at the county fair as a kid, but I just love the sweet, charred taste and the endless seasoning possibilities. While fresh is best, leftover corn is great days later on salads like the one in this recipe. 

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Tomatoes are a North Carolina summer staple. They're plump and juicy off the vine, but they kind of explode when you sear them in a pan. For this recipe, I like to use heirloom cherry tomatoes to create a really colorful dish. If you can't find a pint of those, just mix and match cherry tomato varietals. 

Seared Scallops with Corn & Tomato Salad

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: 10 minutes

SERVINGS: 2

DIFFICULTY: Easy

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 lb. sea scallops (or 6 to 8 U-10 scallops)
  • 4 ears of grilled corn, cut off the cob 
  • 1/2 pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes (halved) 
  • A pinch of chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions

Zest lime and extract juice. Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, mix together corn, halved heirloom cherry tomatoes, and half of the lime juice. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and tomato mixture to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Let cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to blister and the flavors blend together. 

Gently rinse the scallops under cold water. Carefully pat them dry, remove the side muscle, and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter and oil mixture begins to smoke, add the scallops in a single layer in the pan. Sear the scallops for 2 minutes on each side. 

To plate, remove the tomato and corn salad from the pan and top with seared scallops. Add the other half of the lime juice, sprinkle with lime zest, and a pinch of chopped cilantro. 

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Seared Scallops with Corn & Tomato Salad

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