BUT ALSO not everyone celebrates lots of holidays, but holiday food is still fun.
I got a request a looooong time ago from a reader wanting a scallop recipe, and I hemmed and hawed because they’re SO delicious but also SO expensive, and if there was ever a time to throw down for fun/expensive ingredients it’d be a holiday, right?
Still cheaper than going out. Way cheaper.
So, scallops it is. Or was. For our first Valentine’s day which took place three weeks ago because blogging. I made a super duper simple salad with hearts of things to be really cheesy (we all remember the lovebirds from last year, right? I’m not sorry), and then seared some scallops and made the fastest pan sauce ever. The great thing about scallops is that if you like them, you hardly have to do ANYTHING to them because they’re so perfect on their own.
This meal also takes like 20 minutes so….seriously. More time for gushy Valentine’s stuff. Or in our case, family business meetings because we never see each other except for in passing, but whatevs.
Let’s cook. Enough chatter. We’re making salad, scallops, and rice if you’d like. Start the rice first, then do the salad while the scallop pan preheats, then sear the scallops very last. So simple. For the salad, you need hearts of things! Or really, anything you’d like to create a light salad. I used artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, romaine hearts, and some seasonings: almonds, olive oil, salt, and crushed red pepper. Couldn’t be easier! If you’re not into canned heart things (Jay isn’t, sorry dude), you can add any veggies you like and a squeeze of lemon juice for some acidity.
Now, this is a LOVELY salad on it’s own, but let’s grab some scallops and cook them, too! Preheat a skillet to medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes. I actually toasted the almonds, then removed them from the skillet, then left the skillet on the stovetop while I made the salad so it’d be REALLY hot when I was ready to use it. We want nice brown scallops. For the scallops, you’ll need large scallops, butter, white wine, and salt. That’s IT. I have this lovely salt blend from my bff Heather, but regular old salt will do!
On the second side, do the same thing. Cook the scallops until they remove from the pan, and yay! Seared scallops.
THEN THEN THEN, though, we can also add some rice to the plate and make a quick sauce for the scallops. YES! Let’s do that! To the pan you used to cook the scallops, add the wine – it should bubble and reduce almost immediately.
Use a spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to remove all the cooking bits from the scallops – basically we’re using the butter, salt, and scallop flavor left in the pan to combine with the wine and make a lovely little drizzle. When the wine thickens and reduces by about half, we’ve got ourselves a sauce!
- 3 cups romaine hearts, chopped
- 4 ounces artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained and chopped if whole
- 4 ounces hearts of palm, drained and chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt, to taste
- 6 large scallops
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt or a salt blend, to taste
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Brown rice or white rice, if desired
- For the salad, combine all ingredients in a bowl and taste: add more salt or crushed red pepper if you'd like. Serve immediately.
- For the scallops, bring a skillet to medium-high heat with the butter. Pat the scallops dry. When the butter foams, add the scallops and sprinkle with salt. Without moving the scallops, let sear for 4-6 minutes on the first side until the scallops release easily from the pan, then flip. If the scallops stick, let them continue cooking for another minute until they release. Cook on the second side until the scallops are seared and release easily from the pan again, then remove to plates for serving.
- Add the wine to the pan and let cook until reduced by half, stirring to collect extra salt, butter, and scallop flavor from the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the wine reduction evenly over the scallops. Serve with the salad and rice, if desired.