Perfectly seared scallops served with corn and tomatoes in the height of their season. Can’t do much better than that. You really can’t.
I found the sweetest sungold tomatoes and corn at my local market and knew I had to incorporate them into my next dish. This recipe is actually a twist on something I used to prepare at my previous job. We used salmon rather than scallops and there were no herbs involved, but the essence of the recipe is very much the same.
In the summer, even the late summer, I crave seafood more than any other time of the year. The lightness and simplicity of preparation makes it perfect for these warm days. I don’t know about the weather by you, but it’s over 90F here so I’m definitely not ready for any stewy fall meals quite yet. Scallops have been on the mind lately. I’ve had this recipe in my head for well over a month. It was probably my recent trip to Gato, Bobby Flay’s Mediterranean joint, that sealed the deal. I ordered a dish that involved both scallops and corn, and at that point I knew this was definitely happening.
Sweet corn compliments these delicate scallops beautifully. If you make this recipe, it’s vitally important to use good quality, fresh corn. No you cannot substitute frozen corn. Please don’t ask me that. It defeats the purpose of making this dish. You want corn that is so good, that you can eat it raw. Scratch that. That you WANT to eat it raw. This gorgeous yellow corn was completely at that level. Good produce doesn’t require a lot of fussing. I simply grated this corn on the large side of a box grater, added it a cold pan with a few teaspoons of butter, cranked up the heat and let it simmer and thicken for about 2 minutes. It was that simple. The title may have been misleading, but this “creamed corn” is completely cream free.
The tomato prep was even easier. Again, it’s highly important to use good quality tomatoes here. No, they don’t have to be sungold but they should be on the smaller, sweeter side. Grape, cherry or cocktail (compari) tomatoes would all work. The acid really adds a nice balance to the dish. All I did to the tomatoes was slice them and toss them with salt, good quality extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs. I went with tarragon and basil. That was it.
The scallops were just as quick to whip up. I think a lot of people are intimidated by scallops. Yeah sure, they’re very easy to overcook. And maybe fresh scallops aren’t readily available if you live super inland, but if you like scallops and you can find them, please try to cook them one day. You’ll impress your boo and save serious cash compared to dining on these delights in a smancy restaurant. All i did was get a pan good and hot, add in a 1/4 inch layer of vegetable oil, let it shimmer and carefully placed the scallops in a pan. After about 2 minutes, the bottom side should be a lovely brown. Flip them over, and give them about another minute and they should be perfect. Just keep an eye on them. You can see the flesh turn opaque. The second they are opaque all the way through, they are done. It’s that easy people. Put these scallops with creamed corn and herbed tomatoes on your dinner menu tonight. Do it.
- -8 sea scallops, feet removed
- 4 ears corn
- 1 tbsp butter
- ⅔ cup sungold tomatoes, halved
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp loosely packed basil, chiffonade
- ½ tbsp loosely packed tarragon, finely chopped
- Vegetable oil, for searing
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Prep corn: Using the large side of a box grater, grate corn into a bowl. Place corn, all of its juices and butter into a small, cold pan.
- Prep tomatoes: Add cut tomatoes to a small bowl. Stir in oil and chopped herbs. Season with salt right before serving. Set aside.
- Cook corn: Turn pan to medium high heat. Simmer for 2 minutes, while stirring to incorporate butter, or until mixture has thickened. Keep warm.
- Cook scallops: While corn cooks, heat a small, heavy bottomed pan to medium-high heat. Add ¼ inch of vegetable oil. Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. When oil shimmers, add scallops to pan in a clockwise direction. Sear for 2 minutes on first side or until well-browned. Flip in same order as added to pan, and cook 1 more minute or until just opaque and cooked through. Remove from pan.
- Serve: Divide creamed corn between serving plates. Top with scallops. Spoon over tomatoes. Top with additional small basil leaves, if desired. Enjoy.