Oranges, scallops and even onions are at their best in the cooler months, so take advantage of some of winter’s best flavors before the seasons turn. Take care not to overcook the scallops, as they go quickly from perfectly tender to tough and chewy.
Seared Scallops with Oranges
Note on Nutrition
If you think scallops are only for fancy affairs, think again: they are a versatile and quick-cooking protein. Serve them over simple salads for a refreshing, low-calorie meal.
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 tsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. capers, drained and rinsed
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. sea scallops, 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter
1/3 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or mint
Put onion slices in a colander and rinse well under cold running water. Drain thoroughly, then transfer to a small bowl and stir in rice vinegar. Set aside.
Remove 1 teaspoon finely grated zest from 1 orange; set zest aside. Using a sharp knife, cut a thin slice off both ends of each orange, then cut away peel and bitter white pith, following fruit’s curve. Cut oranges in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into thin half-moons. In a bowl, combine orange slices with reserved zest, capers and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside.
Sprinkle scallops with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add scallops and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and opaque in center, 4 to 5 minutes total.
Add onion (with vinegar), parsley and a few grindings of pepper to orange mixture and toss gently to combine. Divide orange salad among 4 dinner plates and top with warm scallops, dividing them evenly. Serve right away. Serves 4.