18 May 2012

Pan Seared Poppy Seed Crusted Scallop Salad with Romesco Sauce

Today's light dinner comes to my kitchen from Cat Cora, # 48 on Gourmet's 50 Woman Game Changers.






Chef Cat Cora has certainly carved herself a place on the 50 Woman Game Changer list. She is one driven woman. Her voyage to the heights of foodie culture began in Mississippi in the 70'. She grew up learning the restaurant ropes from her grandfather and father, both successful restauranteurs. By the time she was fifteen, she was presenting a business plan to her grandfather and father for a restaurant of her own. She went to college and received a degree in biology and exercise science, moved to California and became involved in cooking, attended the Culinary Institute of America, and became involved in the world of foodie television. It was there that she entered the Iron Chef competition and became the first female Iron Chef. Other cooking shows have followed and are in development, her signature restaurants are in such places as a Disneyworld resort and the San Francisco International Airport. She has become involved in philanthropic work by being a spokesperson for UNICEF and a co-founder of a non-profit group called Chefs for Humanity. She is the executive chef for Bon Appetit magazine. She sits on Macy's Culinary Council, a group of top chefs that work with Macy's to inspire consumers to learn cooking techniques and familiarize home cooks with different cuisines in order to bring gourmet foods to the masses (and no doubt, sell a lot of pots and pans and gadgets). She has aligned herself with brands of cookware, spices, kitchen appliances, et cetera and continues to develop her own 'brand'. To boot, she and her wife are raising four active kids. She is one busy woman!




I chose to make a light and fresh flavoured salad that Chef Cora worked up for the April 2009 Bon Appetit on-line magazine. It has spicy red Romesco sauce that is drizzled over pan seared sea scallops that are arranged on a bed of  Bibb and herbal Spring greens. Fresh, crispy, and light ... a perfect light dinner or luncheon plate.






I chose to use North Atlantic sea scallops instead of the bay scallops that Chef Cat suggests. They're a more local product and I trust the integrity of the shellfish far more than bay scallops. I made the salad for two of us, so I decreased amounts on the recipe. I also substituted the Bibb and Spring herbal mix because I find arugula too bitter for our tastes.







I used fresh lemon zest in this recipe too ... Chef Cora suggested a dried lemon zest, but why use dry when you can use fresh and lighter?






The Romesco sauce consists of a roasted red pepper and some roasted cherry tomatoes. The sauce is zinged in a blender with almonds, spices, and olive oil to make a soft orange sauce that packs a wallop.






Once the greens are arranged, the bread is toasted and the dipping oil is plated, you can pan sear the scallops. Everything depends on not over-cooking the scallops. They should be a creamy white and soft and hot all the way through with crisped outer edges where they have rested in the hot pan.





Because I used Bon Appetit's recipe, I am linking readers to the website ... so ... see this fast and easy offering from Chef Cat Cora by linking here .

Now, to see what everyone else involved in this blog challenge has prepared, visit Mary Bergfeld at One Perfect Bite and hit the links to their sites ... it promises to be a tasty week of honor posts to Chef Cat Cora!














13 comments:

  1. Yum, those look delicious and perfectly cooked. I would have never considered using poppy seeds in this recipe. I'll have to give it a try!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Two of my favorites: scallops and romesco sauce. I think you were wise to go with the fresh lemon peel. It's just adds so much freshness.

    ReplyDelete
  3. (Love that photo of the roasted red pepper, Susan!) I do love scallops and eat them frequently. They look delicious piled up on the lettuce; I usually just pan fry them quickly without sauce, but I'd love to try this Romesco sauce. Good write up and nice recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the way these scallops are prepared and served; must taste wonderful,
    Rita

    ReplyDelete
  5. What perfect timing! I actually have leftover Romesco sauce! Wondering what to do with it. Now I know.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Please invite me for lunch, please, please, please!! This looks and sounds so delectable and I need to take food styling and photography lessons from you. Beautifully photographed and styled!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love the combination of flavours Barb. Romesco sauce would go beautifully with scallops.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This salad sounds wonderful - I just made Romesco Sauce for the first time last year and loved it. I'm sure it went really nicely with the scallops, and the poppy seed crust sounds incredible.

    ReplyDelete
  9. OMG! I think even my kids would love these. I loved the look of this...simply irresistible!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm such a fan of Cat Cora - she's an amazing woman. I don't often buy scallops - this recipe will give me a reason to pick some up the next time I'm shopping. Have a wonderful Sunday!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I adore scallops and these look absolutely delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a stunner of a recipe.It looks and sounds delicious and it is a perfect choice to highlight the type of food Cat Cora prepares. I hope you are having a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

    ReplyDelete
  13. A perfect recipe. I never think to serve seared scallops on a bed of greens.

    ReplyDelete

Anonymous comments will not be accepted. Please be aware that due to spamming concerns, I must be able to track back.