Seared Sea Scallops

Serves 4

Fresh, sweet sea scallops, salt-cured pork, and fresh shelling beans have a special affinity for one another. During the short season when fresh flageolets, cannellini, borlotti and cranberry beans are available, they are a special treat not to be missed. Here, a mixture of beans, including fresh garbanzos, are prepared in a warm "salad" with shallots, herbs, excellent Spanish olive oil and spiked with tiny cubes of aged Manchego cheese. With a sprinkling of smoked pimentón (Spanish paprika) and a drizzle of very lovely aged sherry vinegar, you’ll add two small but exceptional details that will take this dish from simple to extraordinary.

ingredients

  • For the Shelling Beans:
  • 1 carrot, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 celery rib, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 2 cups mixed shelled fresh borlotti, cannellini, cranberry, garbanzo, and/or flageolet beans (about 2 pounds unshelled)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced lomo embuchado (dry cured meat made from pork tenderloin, about 20 slices)
  • For the Scallops:
  • 8 large dry-packed sea scallops (1 1/2 ounces each)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • For the Shelling Bean Salad:
  • Unfiltered Arbequina olive oil or any artisanal extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely diced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Cooked shelling beans
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely diced Manchego cheese
  • Spanish smoked paprika
  • Aged Spanish sherry vinegar

directions

TO COOK THE SHELLING BEANS:
Put the carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf, thyme sprigs and water into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain and discard the solids. Return the vegetable water to the saucepan. Add the beans (one variety at a time if cooking multiple varieties), bring to a boil and skim off and discard the foam. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the beans are tender to the bite and no hard or chalky core remains. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of ice water. If you’re cooking more than one kind of bean, add them to the liquid, cook, scoop them out, and add to the ice water. When all the beans have been cooked, stir in salt until the water is well seasoned and return the beans to the pot of liquid (they will absorb flavor from the liquid). Refrigerate the beans in their cooking liquid for up to 4 days.

TO PREPARE THE PLATES:
Arrange the sliced lomo in a ring in the center of each of 4 dinner plates (leaving a space in the center). Set the plates aside.

TO COOK THE SCALLOPS:
Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over high heat, add the oil, and heat for a few seconds more until it shimmers. Add the scallops and cook, turning once, for about 5 minutes total, or until golden brown on both sides. (The scallops should be 90 percent opaque on the inside.) Remove the pan from the heat.

TO PREPARE THE BEAN SALAD:
While the scallops are cooking, warm the beans. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and 2 tablespoons of their cooking liquid and warm through, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the Manchego cheese with the warm beans.

TO SERVE:
Mound the beans in the center of the arranged lomo. Place the scallops on top of the beans. Dust the perimeter of the plates with paprika and drizzle with some oil and sherry vinegar.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Ten Speed Press. All rights reserved.

RecID 8643

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