The Art of Searing Scallops
The buttery textured lettuce, crisp apples, crunchy cucumber, juicy tomatoes, creamy avocado, and seared scallops pair perfectly with the bright citrusy flavor of this unique dressing
When Joe and I first decided to BE BRAVE, quit our corporate jobs and open an Oil & Vinegar franchise store in Greenville SC, we were tasting the products with our staff, making combinations to share with our guests and someone mixed together our Lime Grapeseed oil with our Elderflower Apple Lime vinegar – it tasted like Key Lime Pie!! Of course, it was now my challenge, to see how we could use this combination, and this was the first recipe I developed using Oil &Vinegar products.
The Lime grapeseed oil plays a dual role. Not only is it part of this very unique dressing, but because grapeseed oil is a high temperature cooking oil, it is perfect for searing the scallops, adding that touch of lime flavor to them as they cook. The vinegar adds a little sweetness and another layer of citrus flavor to really brighten up this classy salad.
The key to great seared scallops starts at the purchasing level. For best results, always purchase “dry scallops” which are fleshier and translucent. They will not have the milky white liquid pooling at the bottom. These are untreated scallops versus “wet scallops” commonly found in supermarkets that have been chemically treated to loosen the protein structure. These “wet scallops” absorb 30% more water causing them to give off that moisture in the pan, thus steaming versus searing your scallops. Typically, you can find “dry scallops” in higher end grocery stores (be sure to ask), farmer’s markets, or at a reliable fish monger. They are absolutely worth the slightly higher price. Be sure to read the “Chef Tip” at the end of the recipe for preparation and searing recommendations.
I love the components of this salad all year long and in the notes of the recipe I have added another dressing option to try, but truly, this unique oil and vinegar combination is my absolute favorite way to dress this dish. This salad sparkles when everything is fresh – creating a light, delicious, simple, yet elegant salad you can serve at your next date night!
Seared Scallops with Butter Lettuce Salad
2 small heads of Butter Lettuce
1 avocado, sliced
1 green apple, sliced
½ seedless cucumber, sliced
12-16 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup salted Marcona almonds or cashews, toasted
8 sea scallops patted dry
6 tablespoons O&V Lime Riesling Grapeseed oil *
4 tablespoons O&V Elderflower Apple Lime Vinegar *
1 tablespoon Honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Separate the butter lettuce leaves to create bowls. Place a lettuce bowl in each plate. Tear the remaining lettuce into bite size pieces into a bowl
Chop the apple and toss with one teaspoon of elderflower apple lime vinegar. Add the apples, chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado and cucumber to the bowl with the lettuce leaves.
In a separate bowl mix 4 tablespoons of Lime Riesling oil, remaining Elderflower Apple Lime vinegar, and honey. Season with a little salt and pepper, and stir briskly till combined.
Pour a little of the dressing on the butter lettuce mixture and toss gently. Spoon the mixture into each of the butter lettuce bowls. Add the toasted nuts.
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of Lime oil in a non-stick pan. Add scallops and cook on medium high heat for two minutes on each side, turning only once (See Chef Tip below)
Place the scallops on top of the salad. Mix the remaining dressing and pour over the scallops
Time: 15 minutes
* Yes, as always, I love using the products from our Oil & Vinegar franchise. In this case the Lime Oil and Elderflower Apple Lime vinegar pair together to create the signature “keylime pie” flavor of this dressing. Feel free to substitute products, just remember, that the better the ingredients, the healthier and tastier the outcome/dish.
In this case, you can use all these salad ingredients and dress with a bright, summery combination of an unflavored EVOO, lime juice, salt, pepper, and a little honey. It won’t be the same, but it will still be delicious and healthy!
Searing scallops: The key to getting your scallops browned and beautiful without overcooking them is pretty simple. First be sure to lay them out on a paper towel, generously salt them and let them sit for 10-15 minutes. This draws the water out of them. Then, simply pat them dry and sear for two minutes on each side. You want to guard against overcooking them though, as they turn rubbery and chewy. Always start with a really hot pan, then add the oil, let the oil heat, and then add the scallops, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan – the scallops shouldn’t touch each other.
Categories: Soups & Salads, Seafood, Dairy Free, Gluten Free Option, Avocado, Butter Lettuce, Apple, Cucumber, Cherry Tomato, Marcona Almonds, Lime Oil, Elderflower Apple Lime Vinegar, Scallops, Key Lime Pie Dressing