I am always appalled by scallop dishes at restaurants. Even the best seafood restaurants in New York charge well over $20 a plate for, if you’re lucky, 3 or 4 scallops. You can improve on that ratio considerably at home ¬ yet another testament to the virtues of home-cooking.
This dish, which we modified from one in the NY Times, has the added bonus of incorporating the beautiful bounty of multicolored tomatoes in season now. Pick up a collection of cherry-sized tomatoes at your local farmer’s market; though, really, any fresh tomato will do. The sweetness of the tomatoes is well-complimented by salty capers, and tangy pickled shallots ¬ which are shockingly easy to make.
The dish is rounded out by a good handful of Thai basil, from our latest trip to Chinatown, and some Espelette pepper from our recent trip to the Basque Country; though fresh mint and red pepper flakes will do almost as well.
As with most seafood, try to buy the freshest scallops your budget will allow. Just think, you are still saving considerably off of restaurant scallop dishes.
- 1 large shallot
- Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) or kosher salt
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¾ pound large sea scallops
- 8 ounces assorted small tomatoes, such as cherry
- Large pinch of Espelette pepper, or red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
- Handful of Thai basil leaves (or mint)
- 1 large lime, halved
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Pickle the shallot: peel and slice the shallot crosswise thinly and place in a small bowl with the red wine vinegar and a little salt. Keeping the shallot slices submerged, leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the rest of the dish. (This may be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator).
- With a sharp knife, slice each scallop crosswise into thin slices and slice the tomatoes in half. Distribute slices among chilled plates, laying them flat. Arrange halved tomatoes over each plate. Sprinkle scallop and tomatoes with salt, some Espelette pepper or red pepper flakes, the capers and some pickled shallot. Reserve the remaining vinegar for another use, such as an easy vinaigrette
- Garnish with torn or sliced basil leaves and some small whole basil leaves. Give each plate a squeeze of lime juice and a generous drizzle of olive oil.