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Sautéed Scallops and Quinoa with Orange-Avocado Salsa

Quinoa mixed with olive oil and a big handful of fresh herbs makes a refreshing bed for the scallops and zippy salsa made from oranges and avocado. The salsa is also good with shrimp or any fish as well as with chicken breasts or turkey cutlets. To time the dish right, start the quinoa cooking just before preparing the salsa. This recipe makes a generous amount of both the quinoa and the salsa; toss the leftovers with crumbled feta cheese and pumpkin seeds for a light but filling lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

For the quinoa:

  • 1 cup white, red or multi-color quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 to 4 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  •  
  • 2 oranges, peel and pith removed
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and finely diced
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh basil
  • 2 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 1 1/2 tsp. seeded and minced red jalapeño
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 10 to 12 oz. sea scallops, patted dry

Directions:

To make the quinoa, place the quinoa in a saucepan, rinse with cold water and drain. Repeat the rinsing 3 more times, then drain the quinoa and return it to the pan. Add the 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and then stir in the olive oil and basil. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cut the oranges in half, slice them 1/3 inch thick and then cut into 1/3-inch cubes. Place in a bowl. Gently stir in the avocado, basil, shallot and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Season the scallops with salt and pepper, add to the pan and sauté until almost springy to the touch, about 2 minutes per side.

Spread the quinoa on 2 warmed plates. Top with the salsa and then the scallops and serve immediately. Serves 2.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Gluten Free, by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen, 2013).