Wheatless Wednesday – Warm Scallop Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

2

20150706_204421

Looking for something light and summery – and FAST to make for dinner?  How about a warm scallop salad with perfectly seared sea scallops over a bed of mixed greens, avocado and, I’m in Maine – so blueberries.  Top all of this with a spicy, sweet mango vinaigrette for a lovely summery taste sensation.  Best of all, you can whip this up in 20 minutes or less, depending on how fast you are at putting things together – five minutes or so to make the salad, another five to make the mango vinaigrette and then the scallops only take 3 minutes to cook.  Done and delicious!

20150706_204256 - Copy

Scallops are a great choice for seafood lovers.  They are not only delicious  but low in calories and high in protein.  They are excellent sources of Vitamin B12 and omega3 fats.  Sea scallops are also a good environmental choice.  According to  Seafood Watch, wild-caught scallops are a “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative,” depending on where and how they’re harvested.  Worldwide, farmed scallops are a “Best Choice” because farming methods have little impact on the surrounding environment, however, some countries have questionable farming methods, so I would check before buying.

20150706_194205

I happened upon this mango vinaigrette when I noticed I had some leftover sliced mango that needed to be used up and thought it would make a tasty salad dressing. I grew up with homemade dressing (Thanks Mom!) so I usually make my own.  You will rarely see me pulling a bottle of store-bought dressing from the fridge.  Truly spoiled. I just don’t like that bottled taste they all have. Making it fresh is so worth the extra few minutes, however, if you have a dressing you love, go for it.  With a fruity dressing, I like to pair something savory or spicy like jalapeno or, in this case, red Fresno chili pepper, which also adds a nice color to the vinaigrette.  This otherwise simple dressing also has oil and lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  It was great paired with the greens and warm scallops.  It would also be tasty on grilled shrimp or fish.  Sometimes simpler is better as you can taste each and every flavor.

TIPS:  If blueberries are not available where you are, substitute another fruit, like ripe peaches, or sliced red or yellow bell pepper.  You can use fresh or frozen (defrosted) mango slices or chunks.  If you are using a fresh mango, click HERE for a short video on how to cut a mango from cooking pro Martha Stewart, herself.  It’s easy and brilliant.  If you are still struggling to remove the large mango seed, you should check it out.

20150706_204725

WARM SCALLOP SALAD

1 large bunch of mixed greens, bib lettuce or baby spinach
3/4 cup fresh blueberries OR 1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
2-3 spring onions or large scallions, sliced
1 1/4 pounds+ dry sea scallops, (4-6 per person)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper

20150706_195108

  • Place mixed greens in a large salad bowl along with the blueberries, scallions and avocado.

20150706_194551

  • Rinse and dry scallops with a papertowel, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

20150706_203741

  • Add the butter and oil to a wide saute pan on high heat until almost smoking.  Add the scallops in a single layer round side down, making sure they are not touching each other and sear for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should be golden brown on both sides but still soft in the center. Don’t overcook or they will get tough and chewy. Cook in batches if necessary.

20150706_204016

  • Remove to a serving plate.

20150706_204256

  • Place a large spoonful of salad mixture on a serving plate and top with 4-6 warm scallops.

20150706_204412

  • Top with mango vinaigrette

20150706_194205

MANGO VINAIGRETTE

1/2 ripe mango, roughly chopped or mango chunks (frozen, thawed okay)
1 red Fresno chili pepper, roughly chopped or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsn olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

20150706_192856

  • Place mango and chili pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse until it’s finely minced.

20150706_193119

  • Add lemon juice and olive oil and process until smooth. Add a bit more oil if necessary. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste

20150706_194233

  • Pour into a serving bowl.

Warm Scallop Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 20150706_204421

1 large bunch of mixed greens, bib lettuce or baby spinach
3/4 cup fresh blueberries OR 1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
2-3 spring onions or large scallions, sliced
1 1/4 pounds+ dry sea scallops, (4-6 per person)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper

  • Place mixed greens in a large salad bowl along with the blueberries, scallions and avocado.
  • Rinse and dry scallops with a papertowel, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Add the butter and oil to a wide saute pan on high heat until almost smoking.  Add the scallops in a single layer round side down, making sure they are not touching each other and sear for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should be golden brown on both sides but still soft in the center. Don’t overcook or they will get tough and chewy.
  • Remove to a serving plate.
  • Place a large spoonful of salad mixture on a serving plate and top with 4-6 warm scallops.
  • Top with mango vinaigrette

MANGO VINAIGRETTE

1/2 ripe mango, chopped or mango chunks (frozen, thawed okay)
1 red Fresno chili pepper or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsn olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

  • Place mango and chili pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse until it’s finely minced.
  • Add lemon juice and olive oil and process until smooth.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper to taste
  • Pour into a serving bowl.

Seared Scallops with Zucchini “Pasta”

2

Seared scallops with zucchini pasta

Seared Scallops with Zucchini “Pasta” and Roasted Beet Salad

Last summer, spent at our Maine house, was a balancing act when it came to dinner, which we rotated among friends and took turns hosting.  I had just begun the Good Mother Diet, my husband was protein heavy and mostly carb free and our friend, Rick went back to our ancestral roots with the Paleo diet.  Well here is a meal that satisfies all three!  The pasta is not real pasta, but noodles made by slicing zucchini into long, skinny spaghetti-like ribbons.  For this a mandolin works best, however, you can also use a grater, zester or potato peeler but it won’t look as nice.  If you want it to look even more like spaghetti, you can peel the zucchini before cutting it but I prefer to keep the skins (and vitamins) in the dish.

This is my favorite way to prepare beets.  Roasting, rather than boiling, intensifies the color and flavor, plus it is by far the easiest way to remove the skin.  Using varieties with different colors makes for a prettier dish.  If making the entire meal, start by roasting the beets since that can take a half hour or so, depending on the size of your beets and get the zucchini ‘pasta’ going.  The beets can be made ahead of time and will last in the refrigerator several days.  The actual cooking time of everything else is pretty short and should be done just before serving.  Paleos, like Rick, should omit the pistachios, cheese and seasoning/salt.

Serves 4

Beet Salad

Roasted Beet Salad

4 beets

1-2 Tbsn olive oil

1 head butter lettuce (washed and separated)

Vinaigrette ( ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsn Dijon Mustard, salt and pepper)

Feta (optional)

  • Cut leafy stalks off the beets, taking care not to cut into the flesh. (You want to keep all the juice inside).  Reserve leaves for another use or chop them and saute in olive or butter with garlic and serve on the side.

raw beets Beet packages

  • Wash and dry beets but don’t peel them. (The peel will slide off easily after they are roasted).  Lay them on a large piece of aluminum foil. Brush them with olive oil and fold the foil up and seal into a leak-proof package, or you can use a covered baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.  Larger beets can take up to an hour, so check often. Be careful when you open the pouches, as they will be very steamy and can burn your fingers.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.  Once they are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off by hand or with a papertowel.  (You will be surprised how easy it is).
  • Slice and serve with lettuce and sliced apple.  Drizzle with vinaigrette and top with feta, if desired.

Roasted Beets

Seared Sea Scallops and Zucchini “Pasta”

1 lb large sea scallops

2 Tbsn avocado oil (or another oil that does well in high heat)

1/2 tsp creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s) or just salt and pepper

¼ cup white wine

4 – 6 zucchini (depending on size)

1 Tbsn olive oil plus 1 Tbsn butter (or all olive oil)

¼ cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped (Optional)

2 oz parmesan, grated or thinly sliced Optional)

  • Using a mandolin, cut the unpeeled zucchini into thin pasta sized ribbons. (A grater or potato peeler will work as well). Place the ‘pasta’ strands on a papertowel and sprinkle with salt. . Cover
    with a papertowel and press down gently.  Let them ‘sweat’ for about 30 minutes to remove the extra moisture.

zucchini noodlesPistachios

  • Toast the chopped pistachios in a small, dry pan on medium heat for a few minutes (until you can smell them cooking). Let cool.
  • Heat olive oil and butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes.  Turn off the heat and add ‘pasta’ and pistachios. Toss gently.  Top with parmesan if desired..
  • Wash and dry scallops.  Put them in a bowl with the oil and seasoning.  Gently mix until scallops are coated. The oil should not pool in the bottom of the bowl.  Pour off excess oil that doesn’t mix back in. The scallops won’t sear if there is too much moisture or oil.
  • Heat a cast iron, or other skillet, on medium high to high heat.  The pan should be very hot.  Cook scallops in a single layer, without crowding.  You may have to cook them in two batches.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown.  Turn and cook the other side 2 minutes.
  • Remove scallops from the pan.  Add wine to the hot pan and stir to deglaze and reduce the liquid to make a sauce. If you overcook and too much liquid goes away, just add a bit of water.
  • To serve, place ¼ of the ‘pasta’ mixture on each plate.  Top with ¼ of the scallops.  Drizzle with wine sauce.

Seared scallops with zucchini pasta