Friday, July 8, 2011

Seared Scallops with Spinach, Bacon and Tomatoes

From “Crescent City Cooking” by Susan Spicer

2 strips thick-sliced bacon, preferably applewood-smoked, diced
3/4 pound sea scallops (dry pack, not treated with preservatives), trimmed of tough opaque muscle
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups cleaned fresh spinach
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, or 1 cup whole currant or grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 tablespoons vinegar, such as apple cider, sherry wine, or red wine
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 200ºF and place a large serving platter in the oven to warm. Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Pour the rendered fat into a small dish and set aside.

Rinse the scallops and pat dry with paper towels. Season them lightly with salt and pepper on one side.

Return the skillet to the stove, over high heat. When it is smoking, pour in the olive oil, then sear the scallops, seasoned side down, for 2-3 minutes, until crusty and light brown. Using a spatula, turn and sear them on the other side for a minute, then remove the scallops from the pan and cover them with foil to keep warm. Return the skillet to the stove, heat for 1 minute, then add the spinach and garlic and a pinch of salt; stir with tongs or a spatula. When the spinach is wilted, remove it from the pan and pour off the excess liquid. Add the tomatoes and shallots to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Whisk in the butter and 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and taste for seasoning.

To serve, place the spinach in the middle of the warmed platter. Using tongs, arrange the scallops and tomatoes around the spinach and drizzle with the warm sauce. Garnish with the bacon.