EATING well

Scallops star in this summer salad

The recipe for this warm scallop salad calls for more of the carrot-ginger dressing than you’ll need, but you can also use the dressing on chicken, pork, fish, grilled vegetables and other green salads.

Associated Press

The recipe for this warm scallop salad calls for more of the carrot-ginger dressing than you’ll need, but you can also use the dressing on chicken, pork, fish, grilled vegetables and other green salads.

Scallops are the perfect summertime food — light yet filling, flavorful but versatile enough to pair with all sorts of foods. In this case, with salad.

I call for sea scallops here, which are available all summer long. But make sure to confirm that the bivalves in question are "dry" scallops or "day boat" scallops. Both terms guarantee that the scallops were harvested and brought right to market. Too often scallops are harvested at sea, shucked and tossed into a wet solution containing phosphates, where they sit for days before making it to market.

For this recipe, I dip the scallops in flour before they're sauteed to give them a little crunch. Try using Wondra, a low-protein flour that provides a nice crunch you won't get with all-purpose.

This salad sports my version of the carrot-ginger dressing that's standard at Japanese restaurants, which I've always found to be a delicious and refreshing change from oil and vinegar. Mine includes hot sauce to counterbalance the natural sweetness of the carrot.

I round out this salad with a couple of other welcome summertime ingredients: cucumbers and mango. The greens are arugula, which I tend to favor in all seasons because of its peppery bite.

Finally, if you're not a fan of scallops, you can always swap in shrimp, chicken, pork or even tofu. Consider this recipe a template for dozens of variations.

Warm Scallop Salad With Carrot-Ginger Dressing

The dressing will make about 1 ¼ cups, but this salad will need only about ½ cup.

1 cup chopped carrot

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

4 scallions, sliced, white and green parts kept separate

3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

2 to 4 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided

¼ cup water

1 pound sea scallops, tough muscle discarded and scallops patted dry

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

½ cup Wondra flour (or all-purpose)

6 cups arugula

2 cups chopped cucumber

1 mango (or 2 peaches or nectarines), peeled, pitted and chopped

½ cup toasted peanuts

In a blender, combine the carrot, ginger, white parts of the scallions, rice vinegar, soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, sesame oil, ¼ cup of the vegetable oil and the water. Puree until very smooth. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper, dip them lightly in the flour, coating them on both sides and shaking off the excess, then add them to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the scallops until they are just cooked through, about 2 to 4 minutes per side (depending on the size of the scallops).

Divide the arugula, cucumbers and mango among 4 salad bowls. Top the salads with the scallops, scallion greens and peanuts, then drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dressing over each salad. Serve right away.

Serves 4.

Nutrition information per serving of salad (without dressing): 330 calories; 130 calories from fat (39 percent of total calories); 14 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 35 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 27 g protein; 510 mg sodium.

Nutrition information per 2 tablespoons of dressing: 70 calories; 60 calories from fat (86 percent of total calories); 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 0 g protein; 140 mg sodium.

Scallops star in this summer salad 08/07/13 [Last modified: Thursday, August 8, 2013 1:11pm]

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