Scallops are one of my favorite under-the-sea creatures. When I was a child, I disliked scallops and wouldn’t touch anything my mom would cook with them. What was I thinking?! Scallops are so delicious and fun to eat and here, they really jazz up this already jazzy kale salad with golden raisins, pine nuts, parmesan, and crispy, salty bacon. This recipe is to die for!
This dish is great because it has so many different elements to it: sweet, salty, chewy, and crunchy. Your palette is about to take one hell of a journey with this simple yet satisfying recipe. One of the best parts about this dish is that it’s super simple to prepare and make- it shouldn’t take you more than half an hour to cook once everything is chopped, measured, and ready to go! I love a recipe that calls for wine because that means I can sip on some (or a lot) while I’m cooking. Cooking is suppose to be a fun and relaxing- for the most part- so take advantage of every process and enjoy it. I would recommend having friends and family to cook for because feeding people and having them enjoy your home cooked meal is the best feeling ever.
If you aren’t quite sure what a scallop is, it is a mollusk that moves along the bottom of the ocean floor by opening and closing its shell. The meat which we eat is the actual muscle used for opening and closing the shell. When buying scallops at the grocery, they should be labeled with the actual scallop size per pound. In this case, the scallops I bought were labeled “U-10” which means under 10 would make a pound. Scallops have a side muscle on them which should always be removed before cooking. Sometimes they are already removed at the market but if not, it is simple to remove.
For this recipe you will need:
4 U-10 scallops
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, washed and dried
1 large shallot, small dice
1/4 cup white wine
Half a lemon, juiced
4 slices bacon, cut into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup (handful) golden raisins
1/3 cup (handful) pinenuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
First, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium/high heat. Add just enough kale to make one, even layer. Saute the kale until it is bright green and slightly softened, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the kale to a large bowl. Cook the rest of the kale in batches, transferring to the bowl each time. Next, add a little more olive oil- enough to coat the bottom- and saute the shallot over low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Season the shallot with a pinch of salt and add the wine. Turn up the heat until the wine comes to a simmer and reduce by half, about 8-10 minutes. Pour the contents of the pan onto the kale. Then, over low heat, cook the bacon until it is crispy, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and then add to the kale. Top the kale with the raisins, pine nuts, lemon juice, and parmesan. Because the bacon and parmesan are already salty components of the dish, check for seasoning before adding more salt.
Onto the scallops: heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over high heat. You want to get a good sear on the scallops so they form a beautiful, golden brown crust. Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Add to the hot pan and DO NOT TOUCH or mess with them because this will disrupt the maillard reaction- a chemical action between amino acids and sugars. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until a brown crust has formed. Using a pair of tongs, flip the scallops over to the other side. If the scallop does not easily release from the pan, let it cook a tad longer until it does. Add 1 Tbsp butter to the pan and baste the scallops with a spoon. This will ensure that they remain most. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until they are firm to the touch but still slightly soft. Overcooked scallops are tough and no fun to eat so be sure not to cook them too long.
I hope you LOVE this dish as much as I do because not only is it super yummy, it is good for you, as well. Bon Appetit!