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Seared Scallops with Creamy Spinach and Leeks

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Serves 4

  • by Laraine Perri from Fine Cooking
    Issue 116

Sweet leeks and rich cream mellow the slightly bitter edge of sautéed fresh spinach. Together, they make a luscious bed for seared scallops.

  • 2-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 12 oz. baby spinach (about 12 loosely packed cups)
  • 2 medium leeks (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise, and rinsed (about 1 cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 16 large dry-packed sea scallops
  • 4 tsp. vegetable oil

Melt 1/2 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the spinach and cook, tossing with tongs, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer with tongs to a colander set over a bowl; let drain and cool slightly. Repeat with the remaining spinach (you don’t need to add more butter). Squeeze handfuls of the spinach to release as much liquid as possible.

Discard any liquid in the skillet. Melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter over medium heat and then add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the wine, raise the heat to medium high, and cook until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until it’s thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt, a generous grind of pepper, and the nutmeg. Stir in the cheese and gently fold in the spinach. Keep warm.

Pat the scallops dry and remove the side muscle if still attached. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp. of the oil over medium heat until shimmering hot. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Add half of the scallops to the pan and cook, undisturbed, until browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until just opaque in the center, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 tsp. of oil and the scallops. Serve the scallops over the spinach.

Serving Suggestions

Start the meal off with a fresh Blood Orange and Radicchio Salad with Hazelnuts and Shaved Parmigiano.
 

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 420; Fat (g): 21; Fat Calories (kcal): 190; Saturated Fat (g): 10; Protein (g): 32; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): 24; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 1220; Cholesterol (mg): 105; Fiber (g): 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Very easy and delicious. I add shallots with the garlic and go heavy on the pepper to cut through the richness. This is a staple entertainment dish for us.

It was simple, easy and delicious. I haven't made seared scallops in a long time and this dish reminded me why I loved them so much.

Delicious! I made it exactly to specs using dry-packed sea scallops and received rave reviews. It's a visually beautiful dish to bring to table, too. Definitely a keeper!

I modified this recipe slightly and came out with a fabulous dinner. I added cooked salmon to the sauce instead of the scallops and added it over hot linguine. Fantastic. I needed to add some pasta water to the sauce but everyone raved about the taste and how great the house smelled! 5*'s

Absolutely FABULOUS!!! This was something you would pay top dollar for at a restaurant - and really easy to prepare! I added 2 chopped shallots to leeks and garlic and omitted the nutmeg. I would HIGHLY recommend this recipe!!

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