Seared Scallops with Parsley and Scallion Pesto

Total Time:
40 min
15 min
25 min

4 to 6 servings

  • For the pesto:
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh curly parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • For the vegetables and scallops:
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 16 medium dry diver sea scallops (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound small white button mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, adding salt until it tastes like seawater. Meanwhile, set a colander in a large bowl of ice water. Add the parsley to the boiling water and cook 1 minute, then remove with a slotted spoon. Immediately plunge the parsley into the ice bath and allow to cool, 3 to 5 minutes. Keep the water at a rolling boil.

  • Drain the parsley slightly and put it in a blender (reserve the ice water). Add the sugar and olive oil and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water. Taste for seasoning. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the scallions; set aside.

  • Prepare the asparagus: Add the asparagus to the pot and cook until crisp-tender and bright green, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the ice water to cool. Drain and pat dry. (The pesto and asparagus can be made up to 4 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

  • Cook the scallops: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil begins to smoke slightly, season the scallops with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium, then add the shallots and garlic and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vermouth and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and virtually all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the asparagus and toss until warmed through.

  • Arrange the scallops and vegetables on plates. Squeeze some lemon juice directly over the scallops. Top with the pesto.

  • Photograph by Con Poulos

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