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Sizzling Scallops with Tomato Basil Puree

Scallops are either the best thing you’ve ever eaten or something you tried once and will never cook again. I think they are very easy to cook; pat them dry, season, and sear in a pan for 3 minutes per side. If you serve them hot off the pan you can hear them sizzle like butter. Yum yum yum. If you overcook them, they turn to rubber. Not so yum yum. This recipe was inspired by a tomato-basil vinegar that Ryan’s sister Courtney brought me back from France on her semester abroad. I roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic in the oven while I pan seared the scallops on the stove top. Fresh basil makes this summer dish refreshing and gives it some bite, while the sweetness  from the tomatoes give the sizzling scallops a delicious sauce to soak up.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes     Cooking Time: 15 minutes    Total Time: 25 minutes

12 large scallops, muscle removed*
1 pint red or orange cherry tomatoes
2 tbs aged white vinegar (balsamic will work as well)
2 tbs olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 tbs fresh basil, minced

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Toss into a small bowl. Add the vinegar, oil, and garlic cloves; toss together and season with salt and pepper.
  • Lay the tomato mixture evenly on a small cookie sheet. Place in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the juice of the tomatoes are running out and the garlic is tender.
  • With about 5 minutes to go on the tomatoes, remove them from the oven and add the minced basil. Give the mixture a good stir with a spatula and return to the oven. Next prepare the scallops. There is a small muscle on the side of the scallop that is easily removed with a knife. If you’ve never seen it, ask your fish monger to show you or to remove them. Pat the scallops dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat a large pan on medium-high heat, pushing towards high. Do not add any oil to the pan yet. When the pan is hot, give the pan a good spray of cooking spray and add the scallops to the pan.
  • Set a timer and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the scallops, add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan, and cook another 3 minutes. The scallops should be seared on both sides, sizzling, and just moving from tender to firm.
  • Remove the tomato mixture from the oven and lay it across the bottom of the plate. Lay the scallops on top, drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil, and garnish with fresh basil. Serve immediately.
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