In this streamlined dinner salad, the scallops are seared on very high heat so the outside browns and the inside remains juicy. For best results, look for "dry" scallops, not ones marked "water added," and remove the tough tabs of muscle with your fingers. A couple of minced anchovies and a tablespoon of rinsed capers would give the salad a briny touch.
Grate the zest from the lemon, reserve it, and squeeze the juice from half the lemon into a large bowl. Add the mustard and cream, whisking to blend. Slowly add the extra-virgin olive oil, whisking until thickened. Season with the sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked potatoes and toss to coat.
Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy-based skillet on high and add the olive oil. When the oil is very hot, add the butter. Add the scallops, leaving a bit of space between them. Sear them without moving them around. When they’re well browned at the bottom edges (after about 2 min.), turn and brown the other side, about 1 minute or so more. Remove the scallops from the pan and pour off the fat. Put the pan back over medium heat. Add the lemon zest and wine or vermouth to deglaze, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom. Cook until the wine is reduced to a syrupy glaze. Remove from the heat.
Add the mesclun to the warm potatoes and dressing and toss to coat the greens. Divide the salad between two dinner plates.
Arrange the scallops on the greens. Pour the glaze from the pan over the scallops and garnish with the chives. Serve right away, with a warm baguette and a glass of cold rosé.
Finish the meal on a sweet note with Creamy Lemon Parfaits.
nutrition information (per serving):
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Photo: Scott Phillips