Wheatless Wednesday – Warm Scallop Salad with Lentils and Frisee

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I love Autumn salads which are a bit heartier than those we enjoy in summer.  With the advent of chilly evenings, we need more tummy-filling ingredients to keep us warm and satisfied.  It also helps that bikinis are soon to become a distant memory (unless you’re going on a tropical vacation).  I really like adding either grains or legumes to salads, especially if they are the main course and French green lentils are a favorite.  In creating this salad, I started with a bed of frisee which adds texture and interest, then a layer of French green lentils, tomatoes and oranges topped with warm seared scallops.  A final drizzle of mustard vinaigrette completes the dish. To make this dish vegan, substitute sliced hearts of palm instead of scallops. I don’t know how hearts of palm are when seared, so would recommend using them raw unless you are up for a challenge. It could be worth a try, though.  They sure worked well as a meat alternative in my Pulled ‘Pork’ Sliders. I may have to try…

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Frisee is an under-appreciated green, at least in the Univted States.  Frisee, also called curly endive, is part of the chicory family, along with Belgian endive, radicchio, and escarole.  Frisee is packed with nutrients, and very low in calories like most greens. It is an excellent source of folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C, with approximately one third the daily recommended amount of each, in a single serving. It is also a good source of vitamin K, and manganese. It’s slightly bitter and nutty flavor makes it a nice addition to salads but it works best mixed with milder greens or with complementary flavors like sweet citrus, earthy lentils and a tangy vinaigrette.

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I often use French green lentils (De Puy) which I think are the most flavorful and they keep their shape when cooked, unlike red lentils which are soft and split open, making them perfect for soups and stews.  Brown lentils, which are the most commonly available, can be substituted.  Just be careful not to overcook as they also can become too soft.  Lentils not only delicious, they are high in protein, low in fat and are a good source of fiber and vitamins and minerals, including iron.

TIPS: When purchasing scallops, try to buy dry sea scallops.  Scallops are often labelled ‘dry’ or ‘wet’.  If they aren’t labelled, ask. ‘Wet’ scallops are treated with a solution called STP (sodium tripolyphosphate), which helps the scallops maintain their moisture. The STP solution gives scallops a longer shelf life and keeps them plump and fresh looking. As a result, you’ll not only pay for the added water weight (meaning you get fewer scallops per pound and possibly scallops that are less than fresh)  In addition, you’ll also have trouble browning these scallops—no matter how hot your pan—because of all that excess moisture. If you have had trouble browning scallops in the past, this could be the reason. You will still rinse and dry your scallops which shouldn’t effect the browning as long you dry them well with paper towels.

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WARM SCALLOP SALAD WITH LENTILS AND FRISEE

1 lb large sea scallops
1/2 cup French green lentils
2 ripe tomatoes
1 orange
3-4 scallions, sliced
1 head frisee
2 Tbsn olive oil
salt

VINAIGRETTE
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/8 tsp pepper

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  • Cook lentils as directed but don’t over cook.  They should be al dente.  Pour off any excess water, remove from heat and set aside to cool with lid off.

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  • Slice tomatoes into wedges.  Peel oranges and slice into rounds and then halves.

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  • Pull frisee apart and place in one a large platter or bowl.

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  • Spread cooled lentils over frisee.

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  • Top with tomatoes, orange slices and scallions.

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  • Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

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  • Rinse and dry scallops. Heat olive oil over medium high heat until the pan is very hot. Arrange scallops in a single layer, uncrowded.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes and flip to cook the other side for another 1 1/2 minutes.

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  • Remove from heat and place on top of salad. Sprinkle with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

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Warm Scallop Salad with Lentils and Frisee

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
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 1 lb large sea scallops
1/2 cup French green lentils
2 ripe tomatoes
1 orange
3-4 scallions, sliced
1 head frisee
2 Tbsn olive oil
salt

VINAIGRETTE
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/8 tsp pepper

  • Cook lentils as directed but don’t over cook.  They should be al dente.  Pour off any excess water, remove from heat and set aside to cool with lid off.
  • Slice tomatoes into wedges.  Peel oranges and slice into rounds and then halves.
  • Pull frisee apart and place in one a large platter or bowl.
  • Spread cooled lentils over frisee.
  • Top with tomatoes, orange slices and scallions.
  • Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Rinse and dry scallops. Heat olive oil over medium high heat until the pan is very hot. Arrange scallops in a single layer, uncrowded.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes and flip to cook the other side for another 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and place on top of salad.
  • Sprinkle with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

 

Wheatless Wednesday – Warm Scallop Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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

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  • 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.

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  • Remove to a serving plate.

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

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  • Top with mango vinaigrette

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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

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

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  • 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

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  • Pour into a serving bowl.

Warm Scallop Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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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.