SCALLOPS WITH GINGERED MANGO-TOMATO SALSA
Makes 4 servings
4 strips bacon (optional)
2 large scallions, finely sliced (or finely sliced red onion)
About 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/2 preserved lemon, finely diced (optional)
1/2 jalapeno or other chile, seeded and minced
1 or 2 limes
1 large mango, ripe but firm, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/2 pint (or more) grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
Chopped cilantro, mint or basil (optional)
Arugula and/or mixed greens
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops, muscle removed, patted dry
Salt and freshly ground pepper
If you’re using the bacon, cook it in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (you’ll use the same skillet for the scallops) until it’s crisp. Pat the bacon dry and, when it’s cool, chop it and keep aside. Pour off most of the fat; leave about 1/8 inch of fat in the skillet. (You can do this a few hours ahead.)
For the salsa, toss the scallions (or onion), ginger, preserved lemon and chile into a mixing bowl. Season wtih salt and pepper, pour in a tablespoon or two of olive oil, grate the zest of one lime over the mix and give everything a good stir. (You can make the salsa up to this point a few hours ahead; cover and leave at room temperature.)
Just before you’re ready to cook the scallops, finish the salsa by stirring in the mango and tomatoes. Squeeze the lime juice over the salsa, season with salt and pepper and taste for more juice and/or olive oil. Sprinkle over the cilantro, if you’re using it. Once you add the lime juice, you’ll want to serve the salsa within 15 minutes … max.
Season the greens with salt and pepper and toss with a little vinaigrette — you don’t want to over-moisten the greens. Line a large shallow serving bowl or a platter with the greens.
Put the skillet with the bacon fat over high-medium heat and, when it’s hot, toss in a tablespoon of butter. If you didn’t make the bacon, heat a combination of olive oil and butter in a skillet. When the bubbles have just about subsided, put the scallops in the pan — don’t crowd them. Cook, without turning, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they’re nicely browned on the bottom. Flip the scallops over and cook for another minute or 2 to brown. When done, the scallops should be firm on the outside and opalescent and still a little jiggly in the center. (If you like your scallops more done than that — cook away.)
Turn the scallops out over the salad. Give the salsa a last stir, then spoon it over the scallops. Top with the chopped bacon and serve.