Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pan-Seared Scallops with Tomao Salsa, Spinach and Mushrooms

Pan-Seared Scallops with Tomao Salsa, Spinach and Mushrooms

One of the issues I had on a prior visit to the Irvington Farmer's Market was that I went not really thinking of what dish could I prepare with (insert produce)? so I went with a different approach this time and brought my copy of The Flavor Bible. As I looked through the offerings, I noticed these cherry tomatoes, and along with some basil I purchased from a different vendor, noticed a flavor affinity of tomato, basil, scallops, and pasta.

Well, things did not go as planned because the basil was used in the chicken salad but I found this dish to use the tomatoes I purchased. One other item I used from the farmer's market was oyster mushrooms in this dish.

The Challenge

Attempt something different. I don't prepare many appetizers here and thought I could use some variety.

The Source

I adapted this dish from Martha Stewart's website. I have issues with it's preparation, however. First, I'd never put the scallop in butter. I use high heat and butter would burn while I waited for the pan to get to the proper temperature. Secondly, cooking a scallop for 3 to 4 minutes per side will result in an overcooked scallop. Third, I advise wilting spinach by just putting the rinsed leaves into a skillet similar to the method demonstrated in my spinach pasta dish because the oil will splatter once wet spinach leaves hit the pan, creating a dangerous situation.


20 grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
3 cups packed spinach leaves, washed thoroughly
4 large sea scallops


1. Prepare the salsa. Cut each tomato quarter in half, then place in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the red wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper, then toss to combine and set aside.

2. Prepare the mushrooms. Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms and season with salt, pepper and sugar. Cook until softened, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the thyme and rosemary. Set aside and keep warm.

3. Prepare the spinach. Put the wet spinach leaves in a large skillet over medium heat and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until wilted, approximately 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

4. Prepare the scallops and finish the dish. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the remaining tablespoon olive oil a medium skillet over high heat. Once the oil smokes, sear the scallops in the pan on one side only, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and rest to allow for carryover cooking. To plate, spoon some spinach in the center of the plate, then top the spinach with one scallop, seared side up. Surround the scallop by garnishing the dish with the mushrooms and tomatoes.


While I was pleased with the flavors of this dish, I believe the photo above could have been better. I'm still learning and took this picture outside about 1pm on a sunny July day. It's difficult to distinguish the edge of the plate from the pink tablecloth I used due to the glare. Live and learn.

In other news, I haven't addressed one of my favorite TV shows that currently airs in a while, Next Food Network Star. I choose my favorite by answering the question who's cooking show would I watch? and for me, the answer is still Loreal so I'm finding it frustrating that the selection committee seems to be favoring Lenny. To me, it appears the Network has over compensated Paula Deen's absence with Ree, Trisha, and Damaris. What are your thoughts on the matter? Leave a comment below.


  1. Great tips and analysis of the recipe you started with. Glad to have met you and I can see how people could learn a lot from your posts! Keep up the cooking and exploring!

  2. Good call about that butter. And I have The Flavor Bible, it's a great book. What a pretty recipe, makes an impressive presentation.


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