Scallops are one of my personal favorites. They are tender, slightly-sweet, and posses all of the best qualities of seafood. In my experience, most people love scallops, but not as many people cook scallops at home when compared to other seafoodfound that many people a intimidated by scallops and that even when some of them decided to try, their scallops simply didn’t compare to the scallops they had at their favorite restaurants.This recipe here is the epitome of what we want we strive for. Providing you with recipes that are restaurant-caliber but easy enough for you to make at home to perfection.
This dish is light, refreshing and offers bursts of flavors from citrus, sweetness to peppery.
Ingredients for Scallops with Kohlrabi, Carrot and Citrus Salad
While this recipe definitely requires a few steps from making the vinnaigrette, to cutting your vegetables to making your salad, the actual ingredients you're working with are minimal. Here's your grocery list:
Scallops: For seared scallops, I like to use the largest ones I can because then you get to have that perfectly caramelized top, accompanied by a delicately-tender interior. As a rule of thumb, I try to use U12 (under 12 in a pound) sized scallops or larger. U8 (under 8 scallops in a pound) are my ideal-sized scallops but they can be tough to find without a routine purveyor.
Citrus: I like to use orange, blood orange, and lemon because the blood orange brings a beautiful color, the orange has the perfect sweet/acidic balance for the dish, and the lemon adds a pop to the dish that wakes up your palate every time you get a bite and helps to highlight the scallops natural sweetness through contrast. Another great option to use as a replacement is grapefruit.
Kohlrabi: If you can’t find any, or simply would prefer not to use kohlrabi, fennel, jicama, or a radish such as diakon or breakfast radishes are a perfect replacement.
Greens: I love to use microgreens here because they pack such a punch of flavor in small doses as well as nutrition. My favorite for this recipe is micro kohlrabi, broccoli, or arugula, but if you want to replace the microgreens, you can use something with a zesty burst such as arugula, watercress, or sorrel.
What is Kohlrabi?
If you're unfamiliar with kohlrabi, kohlrabi is a vegetable that is in the same family as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Kohlrabi has a slightly sweeter taste than broccoli and can be eaten cooked or raw. This vegetable has become very popular in recent years because of its nutritional value and its diversity in cooking. Kohlrabi greens, when purchased whole, can also be braised similar to how one would braise collard greens.
Tips to Buying the Best Scallops
Cooking scallops can be tricky, but the biggest downfall comes from the actual buying of the scallops. Scallops are one of those foods that are drastically affected by quality. While some foods such as pork, chicken, or unripened vegetables can be “saved”, or “masked” when cooked with spices or sauces, the quality of the scallop can’t be masked as easily. That is why so many people are afraid of cooking scallops at home, because no matter what they do when it comes to cooking the scallops, they cannot win if they start with low-quality scallops. To help set you up for success before you even start cooking, here are a few pointers to help you locate the BEST and FRESHEST scallops near you.
Where To Buy
Buy from a reputable source: Buying seafood, and especially buying shellfish, is not the time to throw your dice on the table and take a risk in order to save a few bucks. Make sure that you are buying from a reputable dealer who is certified to sell you seafood.
Buy from a place that sells a lot of seafood: As a rule of thumb, it is best to buy highly-perishable foods such as scallops from a place that does a lot of business and sells a lot of seafood. You don’t want to buy some scallops that have been sitting around in a display for most of the week, even if they have been well taken care of.
When Buying the Scallops
Check their look: If the scallops look rough, just avoid them. Seems like common sense but I know what it is like when you are hit with the “hunger fever” and you have set your mind on having something specific. Fresh scallops can differ in color but just make sure they look vibrant, and plump and not dried, discolored or shredded.
Check their size: Scallops’s sizes are broken down by how many come in a pound. For example, U10 means that under 10 scallops weigh a pound. The smaller the number, the larger the size of the scallop. This is important because you may not want a big sea scallop if you are looking to make ceviche. A better option could be a bay scallop or similarly sized U20-30 scallops.
Check their moisture: This may be one of the most important part. Just because a scallop lives in the ocean doesn’t mean it should be water-logged and slimy. The best scallops should be dry-packed and tacky, or slightly sticky to the touch but definitely not slimy or wet. According to the FDA, to officially be considered a scallop, the moisture content must be less than 80%. Buying water-logged or wet scallops will make it nearly impossible to get that beautiful golden crust that makes scallops so tasty.
Check their smell: This one is another fairly obvious piece of advice, but avoid the scallops that smell like ammonia or give off any other unsavory scents. Fresh scallops should smell like the ocean with no hints of brine or sourness.
Tips for Making Scallops with Kohlrabi, Carrot and Citrus Salad
Seasoning the salad: Don’t forget to season each ingredient slightly. Remember, salt is a flavor enhancer and it opens the pores on your tongue and allows you to taste. For that reason, you should even season your fruit with salt (but just a little). Try it in small batches to see how much salt you like first.
If you find that the salad as a whole is missing a pop of flavor:try adding some more zest of either another lemon or orange. You would be amazed at what the zest can do to brighten the flavors in a dish!
Let the fruit and vegetable soak the juices: Be sure to let the fruit/vegetables soakin the juices/vinaigrette for at least five minutes after you cut/season them to allow them to fully absorb all the flavors.
Once you put the scallops in the hot pan, avoid the urge to flip or check them! Turn the heat down low and let them cook until a nice crust has formed. The scallop will let you know when it is time to flip because it will easily release from the pan. If the scallop seems to stick when you try to flip it, let it keep cooking.
There's no better recipe to welcome spring and summer flavors than this one! Cheers and eat well.
Scallops with Kohlrabi, Carrot and Citrus Salad
This refreshing scallops dish welcomes the warmer weather of spring while utilizing the last flavors of winter. With bright and vibrant colors, this dish tastes fresh, light, and full of flavor.
Peel three of your large rainbow carrots (enough to yield about ½ cups of carrots after they are roasted and cut) and place them on a small sheet pan and coat liberally with olive oil and salt (about ½ teaspoon).
Once the oven has reached 400 F, place the carrots in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until they are slightly charred and fully cooked/tender.
Once cooked, remove the carrots from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before cutting.
Making the “Vinaigrette”:
Place the two tablespoons of honey into a bowl and zest one lemon, one blood orange, and one orange into the honey. Slice both the orange and lemon (not the blood orange) in half and juice them into the honey, whisking to combine. Add a pinch of salt and set aside.
Preparing the Salad:
To prepare the salad, you will be cutting the various ingredients, seasoning them with salt to taste, and adding them all together.
To segment the citrus, you'll want to cut the top and bottom first, to make it sit flat. Then, you basically cut the outer layer away from the citrus. Peeling it with a knife (serrated) is best so you can get the white rind off (it tastes bitter). Once you've done that, cut the citrus between those citrus lines (the white veins) to create wedges and put them all in a bowl with the juice that has dripped out while cutting. Make sure to squeeze the remaining carcass to extract the remaining juices.
Next, peel the remaining two rainbow carrots and discard the peelings. Using your peeler, Proceed to peel the carrot, trying to get as long and as thick strands of carrots as possible. Season these carrot strands lightly with a pinch of salt and add them to the citrus.
Next, take the roasted carrots from earlier and cut them into small bite-sized pieces of your choosing. Add them to the other cut ingredients.
Cut your kohlrabi by placing it on your cutting board and cutting it in half through the center so that your cut splits the root in half. Next, cut the root base (where it is very tough and fibrous) off and discard. Proceed to cut or slice each half of the kohlrabi so that it is as thin as possible. (You can use a mandolin to slice it or box grater if you prefer to grate it.) Once all the kohlrabi is cut, season it with salt (a few pinches) and add it to the other cut vegetables.
Once all the ingredients are cut, seasoned, and tossed together, pour the “vinaigrette” from earlier over the ingredients and toss to coat. Set the salad aside while you cook the scallops so they can absorb the “vinaigrette”
Prepping the Scallops:
To prepare the scallops for cooking, remove the small abductor muscle from each scallop and discard the muscle. (The abductor muscle is the small rectangular tag on the side of each muscle that holds the scallop in the shell. Some scallops may not have them.)
Place the scallops on a flat surface and lightly season with a sprinkle of salt on each side.
Cooking the Scallops:
Place a large heavy-bottomed saute pan on the stove and turn the heat on to high.
Before cooking the scallops, ensure they are dry by gently patting each side with a paper towel.
Once the pan has become very hot, add about 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil to the pan, followed by the scallops. (Make sure you are putting the scallops into the pan flat on one of the two flat show sides and not on its rounded sides.)
Once all the scallops are in the pan, carefully push each scallop flat so that there are no air pockets between the scallop’s surface and the pan.
Immediately turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook the scallops, untouched, for about four minutes, or until they become a dark golden-brown and no longer stick to the pan.
Once all the scallops are ready to turn, add ½ tablespoon of butter to the pan, and swirl it for about 10-15 seconds to coat the scallops.
Immediately flip each scallop, turn off the heat, and let the scallops continue to cook for two minutes in the hot pan. (This will allow your scallops to gently cook on the second side leaving you with a nice and tender scallop.)
After two minutes, the scallops will be ready to serve.
Finishing the Dish:
Once the scallops have been cooked and the citrus & vegetables have had time to marinate briefly, place about half of the salad down on a plate, followed by a sprinkling of microgreens (about 1 ounce). Place the scallops directly on the salad and spoon some of the juice/vinaigrette over the scallops. Repeat and enjoy.
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