Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scallops with Sauteed Corn, Tomatoes and Bacon

This weekend, I cooked what I think is my greatest success with a recipe of my own creation. Sticky from 90 degree weather, and in no mood to spend too much effort cooking a meal for myself, I ventured to the store with not one idea in mind. I made a quick glance at the butcher counter, but I save simple pork and chicken dishes for the weekdays, and I did not feel like beef. Taking the weather into account, the seafood counter seemed like the best bet, but I had had fish the night before. Nearly ready to leave the store and scan through the list of dreadful takeout places in my neighborhood, I spotted some beautiful and well-priced Montauk sea scallops sitting in the far corner of the seafood counter. Knowing full well that this would be the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the scallop-hating Significant Eater being out of town for the weekend, I purchased five scallops. Let me tell you, I'm a scallop-izer, and I get pretty out of control when the Significant Eater is not around.

Scallops in my bag, I began to think of how I could prepare them. I thought of the items that needed to be eaten in my refrigerator before they went bad. I had an ear of corn purchased from the Greenmarket a few days ago, half an heirloom tomato leftover from a BLT earlier that day, and a package of bacon, which wasn't going bad, but bacon is always in my thoughts. Scallops, corn, tomato, and bacon sounds like something on a restaurant menu, I thought, so I went with the idea. I am glad I did, for in my mind, the dish could not have been improved upon. The corn, bacon, and tomatoes came together very nicely, and provided a perfect bed for the sweet scallops to rest upon.

Scallops with Sauteed Corn, Tomatoes, and Bacon
Serves 2

  • 2 slices of bacon, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 tomato, preferably heirloom, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 large sea scallops
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  1. Heat bacon in a deep skillet over medium heat. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon begins to crisp.
  2. Add garlic to skillet and cook until fragrant but not browned, no more than two minutes.
  3. Add tomato and corn to skillet and cook until tomato begins to break down, about three minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and set heat to low, stirring occasionally.
  4. Prepare the scallops by tearing off the muscle. Pat them dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat olive oil over in a skillet (preferably cast iron for the perfect sear) over high heat.
  6. Add scallops to the pan. After thirty seconds, reduce the heat to medium. Cook until well seared on one side, about three minutes.
  7. Flip scallops and add butter to pan. Cook for another 3 minutes, occasionally basting scallops with butter.
  8. Serve scallops on plates atop corn, bacon, and tomato mixture.

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