Seared Scallops with Tomato Fennel Relish
- 12 large scallops
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 4 large tomatoes
- 3 tbsps butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup fennel bulb, diced (save some fronds for garnish)
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, divided
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 cup 1850 Reserve Chardonnay or other white wine
- 2 tbsps flat leafed parsley, chopped
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 5 ozs arugula
Lay scallops on a paper towel–lined plate and allow to come to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and let stand 5 more minutes. This will help develop the best flavor.
In a glass bowl or mason jar combine a ½ cup olive oil, half of the garlic, the lemon juice, and the lemon zest. Set aside this lemon garlic oil until needed later in recipe.
Now for the relish. With a sharp knife, carve an “X” on the top of each tomato and dip each in a large pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds. Let cool, then peel. To seed tomatoes, cut them in half and squeeze. Core and dice fine.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat until it begins to brown. Add onion, fennel, wine, a pinch of salt, and cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add cumin and cook 1 minute more, stirring often. Stir in tomatoes and cook until sauce is glossy and thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter to emulsify the sauce a bit, then add parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and turn off heat.
Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add oil and swirl around to coat bottom of pan. Arrange scallops in a single layer in pan, with ample space around each. Cook without moving scallops until golden and crusty underneath, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook for about a minute more on the second side. Remove pan from heat and let scallops sit in pan for one minute then transfer to a plate.
While scallops are cooking, toss the arugula lightly with lemon garlic oil.
If making this dish as an appetizer put a small amount of arugula into a gratin dish, spoon over some relish, then add a scallop to each. Top each with a dab of relish and a snippet of fennel frond.
If you are serving this as a salad divide the arugula mix onto four plates. Spoon 3 dollops of relish on top of the arugula on each plate, then top each dollop of relish with a scallop. You can put another dollop of relish in the center and garnish with fennel fronds.
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