Friday, February 11, 2011

Sexy Citrus Seafood Salad for Valentine’s Day


This vivid citrus shellfish salad is sexy looking with its beautifully browned sweet morsels of sea scallops, vibrant and juicy orange segments, slippery white pickled onions, and bright green parsley leaves. In winter when temperatures drop and the days are short, let this sun-soaked salad whisk you and your love away to a romantic tropical island beach for a quiet dinner alone on Valentine's Day. It can be put together in under thirty minutes, giving you time for more important things.


This is another dish that falls into the “small plate” category for a light, healthy meal. The ingredients are simple and you probably have a jar of pickled cocktail onions sitting in your refrigerator right now that you keep for martinis. I’ve used navel oranges, but ruby red grapefruit segments or blood oranges would also be lovely. Wild caught shrimp could easily stand in for the more pricy sea scallops.

When you select scallops, be sure to look for the dry-packed ones, as opposed to wet-packed scallops, which are sitting in phosphate brine.  Jay Harlow offers this advice from Sally’s Place on buying scallops. “When shopping for fresh or thawed scallops, look for ivory or creamy-colored meats, even as dark as a light tan; a stark, bleached white can be a sign of heavy phosphate treatment. There should be little or no milky liquid in the tray, another sign of heavy soaking. In fact, the best dry-packed scallops are often a bit sticky. A fairly strong sweet-briny aroma is also not a problem, but a fishy or sour smell indicates spoilage.” 


Jay sums up how to cook scallops in one simple sentence. “One of the best ways to treat scallops is like little filets mignons -- seared in a hot skillet until the outside is browned and a little crusty, and the center is anywhere from rare to medium rare.”  Thank you Jay. I couldn’t have said it better myself.


Scallops with Orange and Onion Salad
Adapted from Food & Wine – makes 8 first course servings or 4 “small plate” meals

4 large navel oranges (or ruby red grapefruits)
3 tablespoons drained pickled cocktail onions
2 tablespoons packed flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ pounds sea scallops, preferably dry pack
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Using a very sharp paring knife, peel the oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Carefully cut in between the membranes to release the orange sections into a bowl. Discard all but one tablespoon of orange juice from the bowl. Stir in the drained pickled cocktail onions and parsley leaves and season with freshly ground black pepper and set aside.

Pat the sea scallops dry with a paper towel and season them all over with salt. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over high heat until very hot. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and heat until it is shimmering. Cook the scallops over moderately high heat, taking care not to crowd the scallops in the pan. Turn once until they are crusty brown and just cooked through, about 3 - 4 minutes total, depending on the size of the scallops. Do not overcook the scallops or they will be tough and rubbery. Remove them immediately from the pan onto a clean paper towel.

Spoon the pickled-onion-and-orange salad onto small plates and arrange the scallops around the salad. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, some freshly ground black pepper, and serve at once.


58 comments:

  1. I'm not sure if I'd call it sexy....but it sure does look delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mmmm, that looks like a fabulous Valentine's Dinner!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is indeed a sexy salad. My husband is not into scallops but I could make it with crab or lobster. He would be so happy!

    Happy V-Day to you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh my gosh, you're right...this is totally sexy...hubba, hubba! Makes me want to be in the warm sand...

    ReplyDelete
  5. That looks soooo good, and easy! I have always loved seafood and this year developed a seafood allergy and I am heartbroken!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. there is absolutely nothing wrong with this dish! va va va voom.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You are the queen of salads made with citrus and this looks like another great one. It's been along time since I've had a sexy salad. Thanks for the great advice on scallop selecting.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very sexy indeed! A delightfully fresh and refined dish.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  9. This looks great! I know what I am doing the next time I buy scallops!
    Hugs,
    Penny

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just watched a show here..A famous chef who made something quite similar..except the scallops were place in a large soup bowl..w/ a small amout of the cream soup ..the scallops were then doused w/ the citrus syrup..and then vanilla oil was drizzled about..so similar Sam..What a coincidence..your dish looks great.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ooooo... that photo makes my mouth water! Looks scrumptious- I may have to try this one.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow..you have a perfect sear on those scallops. Great recipe. Thanks. Susan

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have looked everywhere, we just do not get scallops of that caliber in SA!! Pretty salad! Happe Valentine's

    ReplyDelete
  14. When I stayed in Cuba the resort chefs put tiny cocktail onions in every salad. I absolutely love them so this salad is on the right track to my heart for valentines Day:D

    ReplyDelete
  15. I bookmarked that one and even Don said he would try it. that's quite an accomplishment. Thanks Sam.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow!!! That looks beautiful & delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Very Sexy!!! Great advice/ideas in this post too! Thanks Sam - love the pictures - I can taste this dish from here!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I totally agree with the scallop cooking method, so many people over-cook theirs and it's such a shame! Scallops cooked perfectly is a beautiful thing!
    And this salad looks beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Boy Sam, you are getting me in the mood for the beach! I have been wanting to make a salad like this. I mentioned to hubby about having scallops for valentine's and now this confirms it! Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Beautiful, Sam. Your scallops are perfectly seared and the other ingredients compliment them perfectly. What a lovely dish for a very special day.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Mmmmm I love scallops so this I know will be delicious. Diane

    ReplyDelete
  22. Forget oysters for Valentines Day, this is what my hubby loves! Thanks for a great idea!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm a terrible foodie as I have not ever had the pleasure of eating a scallop! They're so expensive in South Africa (about US$ 7/ZAR 70 for a small starter) and so I've never tried them. This salad looks so beautiful though, so I think next time I see scallops on the menu I'll just bite the bullet!

    ReplyDelete
  24. These are very tempting, to say the least!

    Bravo!

    Joan

    ReplyDelete
  25. If there is one color that is sexy.it has to be orange :) those scallops on orange look earthy and cute and I can't think of a more perfect way of describing these Mediterranean goodies than Sxy!

    You go girl!

    ReplyDelete
  26. The perfect recipe Sam...and thank you for the buying and cooking tips...Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to know...Happy weekend to you...xv

    ReplyDelete
  27. Swanky, sweet and sexy - yes this has grand eye appeal, ease and healthy. I'm convinced.

    ReplyDelete
  28. What a sexy first course this is (or even a meal for me)! Your scallops are beautifully seared and I love the sweet-sour combination of oranges and onions.

    ReplyDelete
  29. wow looks great let me know when you set up a facebook page for your blog I will help promote it hugs

    have a great valentines

    ReplyDelete
  30. Beautiful salad Sam! I've never heard about the wet vs dry packed scallops. Great information. Have a wonderful weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Beautiful! I see a trip to the fish market in my future!

    ReplyDelete
  32. looks amazing...playful ingredients and flavors

    ReplyDelete
  33. I adore scallops, Sam. And they pair perfectly with citrus. Love the addition of the pickled onions...a great touch. A playful and healthy salad for one or a quick company meal.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Love the perfectly cooked scallops with the orange segments, so pretty, healthy and yes, sexy;-)

    ReplyDelete
  35. This looks heavenly. The colors are delight to my eyes. I am your newest follower. I look forward to viewing more of your yummy recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Ah delicious--a sexy alternative to chocolate! Although, to follow the salad with a chocolate dessert would be quite nice I think!

    Best,
    Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  37. Mmmmm, Sam I bet this would be yummy with lobster, too.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Juicy and sexy will make my Valentine happy; he loves scallops and I don't prepare them as often as I should for him. Thank you for sharing.
    Rita

    ReplyDelete
  39. I had to laugh when I saw your headline, but you're right - the wonderfully-bronzed scallops and voluptuous citrus does indeed look sexy! Happy Valentine's Day, Sam!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm always amazed at your very beautiful food photos. Your scallops look delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Sexy plate, indeed!

    My "aha moment" with scallops came when I learned the magic of a great cast iron pan. Trying to cook them in a cheap non stick skillet just doesn't work as well.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love the idea of light and fresh as sxy - instead of the usual creamy, heavy, rich Valentines Day dishes. The citrus looks wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I love the colorful and tangy citrus paired with the scallops! Also thank you so much for the important and so useful tips on how to buy the scallops.

    ReplyDelete
  44. WOW!! If I could jump through the screen I would. Those look SUPERB!! I love seafood and scallops with citrus has my name written all over it! thanks for visiting my blog, you will find I am not much of a cook but I do get inspired by blogs such as yours and thankfully my beloved bf keeps me from starving to death by being a great chef!

    Happy valentine's day!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Yum, Sam. I'll be right over.

    Happy Valentine's Day to you and your sweetheart.♥

    ReplyDelete
  46. Wow, what a nice salad with scallops,,,love it with the oranges...so refreshing :-) Awesome pictures as well.

    ReplyDelete
  47. The scallops look beautifully cooked, and a very nice pairing with oranges, delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hi Sam, You've sold me on this one as scallops are my favourite.What a great easy colourful recipe! I'm looking forward to more of your seafood concoctions.
    Have a nice day, Therese

    ReplyDelete
  49. Sexy indeed! What a vibrant and beautiful photo too. Love all the colors, flavors and texture in this one.

    Hope you had a great Valentine's Day!

    ReplyDelete
  50. That's one sexy salad Sam!
    The citrus is so sunny and goes so well w/ the scallops. Lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Next to lobster and shrimps, scallops are my seafood of choice.
    I truly love the pairing you used for this dish...just superb!

    Sam...The photo is quite capturing and very inviting.

    Have a lovely day,
    Claudia

    ReplyDelete
  52. Wow, that really is sexy! I love the perfect sear of the scallops. The colors are beautiful and the idea of citrus and scallops... very drool worthy. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  53. This looks delicious! A perfect v-day dinner.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Wow. Not sure how I ended up here (or how I've managed not to end up here earlier!) But so glad I did! This looks amazing. I am always looking for new ways to incorporate certain seafoods into our meals, and this looks too good not to try. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Susan at www.doughmesstic.com

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi!
    couldnt help but drop by your blog.

    oh my gosh, seafood salad is AMAZING!
    i love the pictureee, makes my tummy grumble (:

    ReplyDelete

I enjoy reading each and every comment. If you leave a comment with a question or that requires an answer, please leave an address or way for me to get in touch with you. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam