Recipe: Seared Scallop, Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Salad in a Blood Orange Vinaigrette

A couple of weeks ago I stopped at a farm stand in the Hamptons where I bought an exceptional blood orange infused olive oil.  A blood orange is a type of orange that has a red flesh and very strong citrus flavor.  This olive oil is fragrant and refreshing and light and I can’t stop thinking about the many ways in which I can use it.  So far my ideas include fish, chicken, roasted asparagus, avocados, salads, fruit, and used to cook French toast, olive oil cake and brownies.  My favorite idea was to combine a few of the aforementioned ideas and create a vinaigrette to use on an arugula, avocado, and heirloom tomato salad topped with seared scallops.  Heirloom tomatoes are one of summer’s greatest pleasures and generally arrive at farmer’s markets and in grocery stores at this exact point of the season; so I couldn’t resist including them in the dish.  The creaminess of the avocado cuts into the acid of the tomato and vinaigrette, while the arugula lends a peppery flavor, all balanced out with the sweet and savoriness of the scallop.  All around it’s a wonderful and light summer collaboration of local and fresh ingredients.

Seared Scallop, Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Salad in a Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Salad

  • ¾ lb. large sea scallops (about 8-10)
  • 2 cups arugula leaves, washed
  • 1 pound mixed heirloom tomatoes, halved if small or cut into 1/2-inch wedges if medium or large
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced lengthwise into quarters and chopped
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup champagne or white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup blood orange infused olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together oil and vinegar.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I kept the vinaigrette really simple in an effort to not mask the flavor of the olive oil, but you could add Dijon mustard, shallots or fresh herbs like tarragon or parsley if you like.

* (If you do not have blood orange infused olive oil simply combine 1/3-cup extra virgin olive oil with the juice and zest of 1 blood orange – you could reduce the juice to intensify the flavors, but it’s not necessary)

Method:

Coat the avocados with lemon juice to prevent them from browning.

Rinse scallops with cold water and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Add the oil to a sauté pan on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the oil is hot, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for about 2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a thin golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center.

Set arugula leaves in the middle of a plate, toss cucumbers and tomatoes throughout, place avocado slices around the perimeter.  Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad.  Place scallops on top.  Top with freshly ground black pepper.

Enjoy!
DK

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