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Seared Scallops with Orange and Red Onion Salad

This salad makes a stylish lunch dish or a light supper. Oranges, scallops and even onions are at their best in the wintertime, and these lively flavors will help brighten up a gloomy afternoon or evening.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. rice vinegar 
  • 3 oranges 
  • 1/2 cup pitted mild green olives 
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 lb. sea scallops, each 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter 
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh mint  

Directions:

Put the onion slices in a colander and rinse well under cold running water. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the vinegar. Set aside.

Zest 1 orange to yield 1 tsp. and reserve. Cut the ends off all the oranges, then cut away the peel and pith, following the curve of the orange. Discard the peel. Slice the oranges in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into thin half-rounds. In a bowl, combine the orange slices with the olives, reserved zest and 1 Tbs. of the olive oil.

Season the scallops lightly with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the scallops and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and opaque in the center, 4 to 5 minutes total. Do not overcook the scallops, as they go quickly from perfectly tender to overcooked and tough.

Add the onion (including the vinegar), mint, a pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper to the orange mixture and stir gently. Divide the orange salad among 4 dinner plates and top with the warm scallops. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).