Seared Scallop Salad

August 2nd, 2019 · 35 Comments

This post has been in my “drafts” folder for almost a week, but I didn’t want to post it because I felt like I owed you guys an at least somewhat sweet recipe, since my last dessert was in March!  But, with that out of my system, I am equally excited about this seared scallop salad.

And for you to fully appreciate this salad, I have to tell you a very cute story.  It involves the farmer’s market, and an adorably hungry dog.  Now, the fish stand at our farmer’s market is so popular that if you show up anytime after about 11 am, the only things left are scallops, mussels and cod.  All of which I like!  But it sometimes hurts to see their whiteboard of delicious fish options, 90% erased by the time I make my way down to Union Square.

But, as I was waiting on line one Saturday, suddenly this dog in front of me got up on its back paws and pressed his little nose up to the front of the fish case. As the poor owner was trying to get the (rather large) dog to pry its face away from the plastic divider, the man behind the counter plucked a scallop out of his bowl, and tossed it to the dog, who greedily chomped it down.  Too cute!  And, I thought to myself, “if that dog can get that excited about scallops, then I can find something really lovely to do with them (that does not involve eating them raw in one bite).”

I decided to try some of the artisan greens that were available, and they were very different from what I expected!  Corn shoots, which are the long, straight, very light greens in the salad, were intensely flavorful and just burst in your mouth — different from any lettuce I’ve ever eaten.  The other greens in the salad are white pea greens, pea shoots, and buckwheat greens, and there are some sunchokes thrown in because you know how much I love them.

In other news, I am very excited to announce that two blogs that I like a lot have given me awards (although I feel like I don’t deserve them after steering two people astray with the muffin/large loaf debacle)! Elle and Sarah have given me, respectively, the “E for Excellent” and “Blogging with a Purpose” blogging awards! Which means that I get to pass them on — and honestly, there are too many wonderful food and cooking blogs out there to choose from, and new ones popping up all the time! But here are a few of the blogs whose entries I am always excited to see:

  • Modern Beet – For her excellent focus on local, sustainable and delicious ingredients!
  • Gourmeted – Because I just love their site.
  • Cook & Eat – For the best website layout I’ve seen, and gorgeous recipes!
  • Steamy Kitchen – Because I can’t read this site at work, for fear that I’ll laugh out loud and seem unproductive!
  • White on Rice Couple – Because I’m so excited to make their homemade dog treats this weekend, and because their photos are always gorgeous!
  • Seared Scallop Salad

    INGREDIENTS:
    1 pound large scallops
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 sunchokes, peeled and chopped into matchstick slices
    1 pound mixed artisan greens (I used corn shoots, pea shoots, white pea greens, and buckwheat greens)
    2 tsp mustard
    1 tbsp white wine vinegar
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    Salt
    Pepper

    DIRECTIONS:
    1. Salt and pepper the scallops and set aside.
    2. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil until nearly smoking. When pan and oil are hot. add scallops to the pan, being careful not to overcrowd them. Sear for about 2 minutes per side, turning once. Don’t move them around when they’re on the pan, except to flip them once!
    3. Remove the scallops from the pan and set on a paper towel to cool.
    4. Whisk together mustard, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper, as desired. Dress the greens and sunchoke slices with the dressing and set them onto plates. Place the scallops on top of the greens, about 4 or 5 scallops per plate.

    Serves four, as an appetizer.

    Tags: food · salads · side dishes

    Sunchoke Panzanella

    June 7th, 2019 · 35 Comments

    You know what is one of the best combinations in the world?  Tomatoes and bread.  Pizza, bruschetta, and panzanella are all products of this delicious combination, and I love all three of them.  But you know what makes an even better combination?  Tomatoes, bread, and sunchokes.

    I see sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem Artichokes) at the farmer’s market every week, and I buy them pretty often, to add to other dishes for a little crunch.  Unpeeled, they look a little bit like fresh ginger, but when you peel them, they have a really light, mild flavor and terrific crunchy texture.  I like to add them raw to salads, or use them in place of celery for things like tuna salad… which I usually make with salmon, so can I really call it tuna salad?  But I digress.

    Saturday of this weekend was intensely beautiful in New York, and I woke up early and couldn’t sleep, so I decided to walk from my (uptown) apartment all the way down to the farmer’s market.  I love how sleepy the city is on weekend mornings, before the restaurant brunches pick up, when the stores are still closed and the streets are quiet.  For the city that never sleeps, Saturdays and Sundays before 10 am get pretty close.

    But then I got to the farmer’s market, and found the portion of the city that, like me, was awake and excited.  Suddenly, in the last few weeks, it seems the farmer’s market has doubled in size.  Whereas in January, even on the weekends, there would only be a few choices of things to buy, suddenly now there are tents upon tents of potted and cut flowers, fresh herbs, even vegetable plants for sale!  And squeezed in between them are the stalls that I’ve been buying from all winter, and suddenly I now have to wait in line. 

    Spring vegetables still aren’t available, but I think the closeness of spring makes me value the last winter veggies a little bit more.  So when I saw sunchokes, I wanted to celebrate spring using what’s actually available in Manhattan in April: Sunchoke Panzanella.

    Sunchoke Panzanella

    INGREDIENTS:
    2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
    3 medium-sized sunchokes, cut into 1/2 to 3/4″ pieces
    4 large slices of sourdough bread, or a little less than a demi-baguette, cut into cubes
    3 large shallots, sliced thin
    1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
    6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    Salt
    Pepper

    DIRECTIONS:
    1. In a large skillet, toast bread in 2 tbsp olive oil until crispy and golden.
    2. Mix toasted bread, tomatoes, sunchokes and basil in a large bowl.
    3. Whisk together remaining olive oil and vinegar, drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Serve.

    Serves three to four.


    Tags: food · salads · side dishes

    best homemade guacamole

    June 3rd, 2019 · 14 Comments

    I love guacamole. 

    In fact, the word ‘love’ might not be strong enough.  I’m enthralled, enraptured and a little bit obsessed with this recipe, in no small part because it’s one of the best-tasting good-for-you snacks I can imagine.  Avocados are full of healthy fats, and guacamole is basically just a combination of a few simple, fresh ingredients, tossed and served up.  It doesn’t get much yummier than that.

    A few tips on storing guacamole without the avocados turning brown — first, don’t make this until the last possible minute.  But if you have to make it ahead (or, even more rarely, if this doesn’t get eaten in one sitting), save the pits and store them in the same container.  Rub some saran wrap with a little bit of lemon juice, and cover the top of the guacamole that would otherwise be exposed to the air, and then add an airtight lid. 

    And on day two, throw this on some tortilla chips, add some sour cream and cheese, and viola — nachos!

    Best Homemade Guacamole

    INGREDIENTS

    2 ripe avocados
    1 shallot, minced
    1 plum tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
    2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    Freshly grated black pepper

    DIRECTIONS

    Cut avocados in half and remove the pit.  Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a mixing bowl.  Add the chopped onion, cilantro, tomatoes, lime juice, salt and pepper and mash with a fork until chunky and mixed.  Serve with chips or chopped veggies.

    Tags: appetizers · food · salads · side dishes