This is a dinner I made for my husband and I, when I was inspired by the rich greens all around us in spring. There’s something about being outside, when it’s just begun to feel warm and there is green everywhere, that makes me crave it on my dinner plate. I paired all the greens in my crisper with fresh scallops, for a quiet dinner. We are seafood and scallop lovers, and I will buy wild-caught scallops for a dinner that’s easy, but feels like a special occasion. It takes some time to dry them out to get a better sear so, unless they’re dry-packed, sprinkle them with salt and then let them drain on paper towels for an hour or so in the refrigerator. I seared the scallops in a cast-iron skillet, moved them over, and then added the assortment of vegetables to the same pan for a quick warm-up, until they turned bright green and crisp, yet tender. It doesn’t matter how much time you have on your hands, cooking a nice dinner for the person you love, and doing it in one pan, is a win. You could substitute shrimp or salmon for the scallops.
Seared Scallops with Green Spring Salad
2 pounds wild-caught sea scallops
1 tablespoon safflower or other high-heat oil
1 tablespoons olive oil
6 green onions, tops trimmed and sliced on the bias
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup peas (fresh is nice but frozen works too)
2 cups fresh spinach, stems trimmed and chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 handful fresh basil, julienned
Line a plate with two paper towels. Season the scallops with a generous pinch of salt and lay on the towels. Top with another two paper towels and keep refrigerated for an hour.
Take the scallops out of the refrigerator and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Heat the safflower oil in a large skillet (cast iron is best) set over medium heat. When the oil is hot (it’ll shimmer) carefully add the scallops. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.
Remove to a clean plate and set aside. Add the olive oil to the pan and add the onions, asparagus and peas. Cook until everything is bright green, about 3 minutes. Scrape up the bottom of the pan as you stir. Turn off the heat and add the spinach, stirring until it wilts. Squeeze in the lemon juice and salt and toss it all together. Divide the vegetables among four plates and top with the scallops. Garnish each plate with basil and serve warm.