Scallops and Tomatoes with a Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Today is a bit of a throwback to when I made lunch for some of our interns this past spring.  The recipe was something that I just threw together, but the result was so magical on the taste buds that I figured it deserved a share.

I do not know about you, but the sweet and clean taste of scallops is one of my favorite seafood treats.  I adore them raw in a spicy handroll with the crunch of fresh seaweed, and I simply cannot get enough of them when they are seared to perfection.

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When I am throwing something together out of whatever I can find in the fridge, I try to think about balance.  What elements in the recipe will be my salty notes, my sour, my sweet, and so on.  Creating a recipe is not really that daunting if you just break it down into basic flavor notes, and keep the ingredients simple and fresh.

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One important thing to realize when you are in the kitchen is that we eat with our eyes, as well.  Do not be afraid to get just a little fussy over even the simplest of dishes.  Though my ingredient list is not lengthy or complicated, I knew that turning it into a beautiful platter for us to share would make it even better!

Obviously, I just used whatever tomatoes we had in the kitchen, because our garden heirlooms are not ripe yet.  Do not let that stop you from treating yourself and your guests to the magic that heirloom tomatoes would bring to this dish.  Their sweetness would be gorgeous with the scallops!

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Since I HATE overcooked, rubbery scallops, I wanted to make sure all my stages to this recipe were ready and done before I started to sear.  That way, the happy scallops could go directly from hot, sizzling pan straight to platter.  So, with my tomatoes prepped, it was time to make the vinaigrette.

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Combine your vinegar, brown sugar, onion, bacon and olive oil into a medium sized saucepan and simmer so that the flavors have a chance to meld.

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While the vinaigrette warms, prep some fresh parsley for the final touch to the dish.  When I use fresh herbs I almost always reserve them for a final touch.  I want to preserve their bright flavor and do not want them to cook into mushiness.  Their flavor is always strongest when they are put into a hot dish at the last minute (rather than added during the cooking process).  This is important with all fresh herbs: basil, oregano, thyme…you name it!

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Finally, it is time to prep the stars of this dish: the scallops.

Usually, for sushi I prefer the tiny little guys, and for searing I almost always veer towards the jumbo.  However, this recipe truly was something I threw together, so I made it with what I had on hand (that means I got busy thawing some scallops that I found in the freezer under running water 🙂 ).

The flavor was still amazing, but I had to really make sure to dry them with a clean paper towel and watch them carefully so that I did not overcook them into tiny like hard nuggets.  You want a seared scallop to still be tender and moist.

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Like all food from the sea, scallops want to be salted.

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With my saucepan of yummy vinaigrette simmering beside me, I heated up a pan for my scallops.  I used olive oil because it was handy, but I would really recommend using something with a high heat tolerance and a mild flavor….like grape seed oil or avocado oil (both are pretty easy to find in your local grocery store these days…especially in CA).

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Most important step with scallops: DO NOT CROWD THEM.  They are like mushrooms in that respect, if they do not have room, they will never brown for you.  They will just juice out and boil….YUCK.

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Once every scallop is seared, pour your warm vinaigrette into your pan to deglaze all of that amazing seared flavor into your dressing.  It would literally be criminal to scrub that off into the drain.

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Now simply plate and dress the scallops on top of your flavorful plate of tomatoes.

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Since the dressing is so happily heavy with bacon, it makes for a beautiful presentation to just pile that decadent goodness right on top!

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Golly gee, this one turned out so yummy!  I really hope you get a chance to make it this weekend.  It is such a special meal for summer.  Sweet, rich, salty and tangy.  Just lovely.

Bon apetit!

xoxo

Chanda

Photos Credit to: Jessica Helton

Scallops and Tomatoes with a Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

This gluten free seafood dish is the perfect mixture of sweet, rich, salty, and tangy. It is the perfect meal for the summer!

Course: Dinner, entree, Gluten Free, Lunch, Main Course, Scallops, Seafood, Side Dish
Cuisine: Seafood
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 onion, minced (or 1 shallot)
  • 1 cup bacon
  • parsley, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, slice thinly (heirlooms would be a lovely option)
  • 2 lbs scallops (seasoned with sea salt)
  • olive oil, avocado oil, or grape seed oil (for searing)
Instructions
  1. Prep the tomatoes by slicing them. Next up: time to make the vinaigrette.

  2. Combine your vinegar, brown sugar, onion, bacon and olive oil into a medium sized saucepan and simmer so that the flavors have a chance to meld. While the vinaigrette warms, prep some fresh parsley for the final touch to the dish. 

  3. Finally, it is time to prep the stars of this dish: the scallops. I had to rinse mine under water to defrost them. make sure you pat them dry because you want a seared scallop to still be tender and moist. Add some salt to your scallops.

  4. With my saucepan of yummy vinaigrette simmering beside me, I heated up a pan for my scallops.  I used olive oil because it was handy, but I would really recommend using something with a high heat tolerance and a mild flavor....like grape seed oil or avocado oil. DO NOT CROWD the scallops on the pan or else they will not turn out the way you want them to!

  5. Once every scallop is seared, pour your warm vinaigrette into your pan to deglaze all of that amazing seared flavor into your dressing. Then simply plate and dress the scallops on top of your flavorful plate of tomatoes.