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Pan Seared Scallops

Served on a bed of baby spinach and finished with a warm bacon sherry vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp shallot (1/2 shallot)
  • 2 strips smoked bacon
  • 4 Tbs sherry (preferably a cream sherry)
  • 2 Tbs sherry vinegar
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 12 whole scallops
  • 3 Tbs clarified butter
  • 1/4 Tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 Tsp white pepper
  • 2 Tbs non clarified butter
  • 1 pinch fleur de sel (for garnish) (Unrefined sea salt from Brittany)

Directions

Preparing the Mise en Place

  1. To start the vinaigrette for the scallops, first prepare your mis en place, which simply means to prepare all of your ingredients for cooking. 

  2. Start by washing and drying the baby spinach and removing all of the stems. 

  3. Finely dice the shallots, and set aside. 
  4. Then slice the bacon into match stick size pieces.

Preparing the Vinaigrette

  1. To make the dressing, heat a fry pan to medium low heat and add the bacon.
  2. Once half of the fat has been rendered, add the shallots and let caramelize slightly. 

Turn the heat up to medium high and deglaze the pan with the sherry and let reduce slightly.
  3. Add the sherry vinegar and the apple juice and reduce by about half. If you did not use a sweeter cream sherry you may want to add a touch of sugar.
  4. Once this has reduced, remove from the heat, and set aside. Keep in mind it will continue to thicken as it cools.

Pan-Searing the Scallops

  1. To cook the scallops, pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid.
  2. Check the scallops and remove the tough muscle along the side, if there is one.
  3. Now heat a fry pan to medium high heat and add the clarified butter. While the butter is heating, season the scallops with salt and white pepper.
  4. Once the butter is hot and just begins to smoke, place the scallops into the pan and turn the heat up to high.
  5. The scallops are ready to flip when they start to cook up the sides and turn opaque. Once ready, the bottom should be a nice golden brown, turn the heat down to medium and flip them over.
  6. The scallops are cooked when you can see about 1/4 of an inch on the top and bottom has turned opaque.
  7. Now we are going to butter baste the scallops. Add the butter to the pan and once it has melted spoon a generous amount over each scallop. 
Immediately turn off the heat and remove the scallops from the pan and set aside, while you quickly reheat the vinaigrette.

Finishing and Plating the Scallops

  1. Bring the vinaigrette to a gentle boil then set aside to cool for a minute or two.
  2. Next add some of the dressing to the spinach and toss. Reserve some of the vinaigrette, so you can drizzle a bit over the scallops once they are plated.
  3. Now stack 3 or 4 spinach leaves with a few pieces of bacon and place each stack onto a plate. Then top each stack of spinach with one of the scallops.
  4. Drizzle the scallops with some of the remaining vinaigrette, and garnish each scallop with a few pieces of bacon and a pinch of Fleur de Sel.

Notes

Make sure you have everything ready before you start cooking the scallops, so you don't overcook them.

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