Friday, May 15, 2009

Bacon-Seared Scallop Salad with Green Goddess dressing

Remember Green Goddess dressing? I don't. It was a trendy, 1970s California-foodie thing, I'm pretty sure, which temporarily made it onto grocery shelves before promptly disappearing again. Seeing as I wasn't even a gleam (as they say) at that point, I only recently discovered the super herby, super green, super California concoction. Thanks to an article by Molly Wizenberg in a recent issue of Gourmet, I got to skip the traditional mayonnaise-based history and go straight to her modern take on the dressing, built instead around avocados. Brilliant, right? Right.

Unfortunately, Gourmet has not put her article nor her recipe online, but I'll give you a cheater version here, one that serves 2-4 folks, depending on the size of your salads (or whatever else you're slathering it on), and uses mostly basic and easy-to-find ingredients.

Because it is Friday and because I had a week so exhausting that I may have crashed my bike this morning and because I got paid today, I sprung for one of my favorite ingredients of all time: scallops. If only you knew how easy these were to make--about as easy as they are impressive to whomever you're cooking for. They take no time, need virtually no additional seasoning, and are buttery-delicious when it's all said and done.

SO, put together green goddess + seared scallops and = dinner!

Bacon-Seared Scallop Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
(dressing adapted from Molly Wizenberg's recipe in May '09 issue of Gourmet; entire meal from start to finish--including eating--can be completed in under 30 minutes)

The salad:
5 large (or 7 smallish) scallops for each human you're feeding
1 slice bacon
Salt and pepper
Washed and chopped greens of your liking (we used mesclun mix)
Optional: additions for your salad (we used freshly shucked corn and grape tomatoes)

The dressing:
1/2 ripe avocado
1 small (or 1/2 med-large) garlic clove, minced
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
*Small squirt anchovy paste or 1/2 tsp minced anchovy fillet (optional, but it's traditional!)
pinch sugar
3-6 Tbsp walnut or olive oil
2 Tbsp cream or milk
1 Tbsp each of freshly chopped parsley, basil, thyme, and cilantro
1/2 Tbsp shallot, minced

  1. First, make the dressing. In a food processor, combine avocado through sugar and blend well. (Alternately, do it in a bowl with a fork and some patience.) Slowly drizzle in oil, continually blending (whisking) until smooth. I happen to like a lot of tang, so I usually use equal parts vinegar and oil. If you like a smoother dressing, use the full 6 Ts of oil. Whisk in cream. Stir in herbs and shallot; cover and stash in the fridge until you're ready. If the dressing is too thick, add more oil or even water to your liking.

  2. Next, the scallops. Dice the bacon strip and cook in a hot pan, stirring to prevent sticking. Remove cooked bacon to a paper towel, leaving drippings behind. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel, then salt and pepper one side. Place seasoned side down in hot skillet, then salt and pepper other side. DO NOT TOUCH for 2 minutes; you're getting the good, crusty sear. Flip in the order that you initially laid them down and allow to cook 2 minutes more. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

  3. Now, assemble. Divide lettuce between two plates and top with add-ins, if using. Drizzle a little dressing over your greens and toss gently. Place warm scallops atop each salad and spoon more dressing over. Top with bacon pieces.

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