Seared Scallops with Fresh Herb Gremolata

It was a beautiful day at the Pleasantville Farmer’s Market! Thank you to everyone who came down and ate scallops and shared your stories and techniques with me.

I had an interesting conversation with a British (?) dude who called me out for calling my recipe “scallop carpaccio.” My thought was to thinly slice the cooked scallops, but the sea scallops were smaller than I envisioned and I ended up just slicing them in half which actually worked quite well – caramelized on one side, creamy and rare on the other. He felt that “carpaccio” should only be applied to filet of beef. When I returned home, I consulted two different editions of Larousse Gastronomique, but no help. However, Mark Bittman says, in How to Cook Everything that the method of carpaccio can be applied to tuna and salmon and well.

So dude and I had a conversation highlighting just this phenomenon in cooking. The purist vs. the progressive use of classic terminology. I shared my annoyance with the confit-ing of vegetables. He was aloof, saw no problem, until I explained that confit literally means to cook something in its own fat so “tomato confit” is an oxymoron, as tomatoes have no fat. We both left the conversation with something to think about and I changed the title of my recipe until I contact Mr. Bittman and ask, why not scallops?

Seared Scallop with Fresh Herb Gremolata
Yield: 4 appetizer portions, or double the recipe and serve with pasta or rice for dinner 

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 T minced shallot
1 T lemon zest
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T White Wine Vinegar 
Grapeseed or Canola Oil
4 Large Sea Scallops
Sea Salt

1. For the gremolata, wash the herb leaves well, dry with a salad spinner or a towel and mince into very small pieces. Combine in a bowl with the shallot, lemon zest, olive oil and vinegar. Whisk to combine, set aside. (This whole step can be done in the blender or food processor.) 

2. Rinse scallops, remove the “foot” if it bothers you, pat dry with paper towel and sprinkle with salt.

3. Coat the bottom of a sauté pan with grapeseed or canola oil and heat until it is very hot. In batches, place your scallops, flat side down into the hot pan and press so that they make full contact. Don’t worry if they stick, when they caramelize, they should release. Sear 2-3 minutes, until you see the edges begin to brown. Flip, press lightly, and cook 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat to a plate and repeat until all the scallops are cooked.

4. Using a very sharp knife, slice the scallops thinly into coins and fan out on a plate. Drizzle with gremolata. Serve with toasted bread.

  • Diane Carson

    This sounds wonderful. Going to ask Joe to try it one one of these nights!