Seared Sea Scallops with Bell Pepper Sticks

cookingontheweekends

Scallops are not often thought of as "kid friendly."  I'm not sure why this is — if you've ever tried a nicely cooked scallop, you know they're almost like candy! In addition to their delectable taste, they're packed with protein and other nutrients, and they are also very low in fat.  

The fresh veggies here add to the dish's sweetness. The vegetables are briefly cooked in the caramelized bits of scallops that stick to the pan during the cooking process. It doesn't get much better than that!  

This is lovely over rice, pasta, or spinach — and it only takes fifteen minutes!

Ingredients:

  • 16 sea scallops, about 1 pound
  • Olive oil to coat the pan
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock or broth
  • 1 1/2 bell peppers (preferable 1/2 of a red, yellow, and orange)
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Serves 4

seared scallops

Slice the peppers into thin "sticks," about 1/4 inch, and set aside.  (Remove the pith — the whitish areas on the inside surface of the pepper — before slicing them.)

Place the scallops on a large plate and carefully remove the muscle from each one. (The muscle is a small piece of flesh along the side edge of the scallop — it's slightly opaque compared to the rest of the scallop.)  Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  You should hear a sizzling sound when you place the scallops in the pan. If you don't, your pan's not hot enough. Wait until the pan is very hot and listen for the sizzle! Sear the scallops for about 2 minutes per side.  They should be nicely browned and just starting to crack. Remove them from the pan and set aside.  

With the heat still on, add the stock or broth to the same pan, and use a deglazing spatula (a flat, wooden one is best) to remove any of the scallop bits that stuck to the pan.  Work them into the liquid and add the peppers.  Cook just until the peppers begin to brown, about 2 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and place on top of the scallops.