Mark Bittman: Seared Scallops with Romaine

























By Alaina Sullivan

When it comes to preparing scallops, less is often more: Salt, pepper and a quick butter sear is all it takes. Allow each side to caramelize for just a few minutes in a hot skillet - any longer and you run the risk of the scallops turning rubbery. Simple garnishes -- a kiss of lemon juice and fresh parsley -- add the perfect amount of brightness without overpowering the mild flavor of the scallops. Greens make a reliable companion, too. Here, the fresh crunch of romaine brings balance to the scallops' soft flesh. Grilling the romaine adds even more character to the dish - its smoky flavor is an excellent foil to the sweet, buttery scallops. Recipe from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express.

Seared Scallops with Romaine*

Season scallops with salt and pepper; then sear the scallops for a few minutes in butter, turning once, until just browned on both sides. Drizzle a bunch of romaine lettuce with some olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the scallops with a bit more freshly squeezed lemon juice (some zest is nice here too) and some chopped parsley, and serve over the dressed lettuce with the pan juices.

*For grilled romaine: Cut the romaine hearts in half lengthwise, leaving the core intact,brush with the olive oil and some minced garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill cut-side down until the lettuce begins to brown and get some grill marks, but remains crisp - 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, let it cool, and dress with the freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Kitchen ExpressKitchen ExpressMark Bittman's Kitchen Express presents more than 400 incredibly fast and easy recipes tailored to each season and presented in a simple, straightforward style. Bittman's recipe sketches are the ideal mix of inspiration and instruction: everything a home cook needs to prepare a delicious, healthful, and cost-conscious repertoire of meals for any season and any time of day.