Want a great twist on a traditional dish? How about serving up a seared scallop salad? Fresh juicy summer tomatoes, fragrant basil, and creamy mozzarella make up the base of the salad that's topped with tender, well-seared scallops.
Yes, it is just as good as it sounds. Plus, it is so simple to make! It is perfect for a light summer meal.
Summer is the perfect time for lighter meals. The heat makes us yearn for meals that feel a bit cooler, are quick to make, and don't require much cooking.
Scallops and salad are a winning combination and meet all these requirements. If you enjoy this scallop salad recipe, I think you will also love this shrimp and cucumber salad or this vegetarian black bean and corn salad.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- A summer scallops recipe you will love!
- Fresh flavors and a delicious combination.
- Requires minimal cooking and takes just minutes to prepare.
What is in this easy scallops and salad recipe? Let's take a look at the simple ingredients you will need to gather.
- Heirloom tomatoes: Splurge just a bit for juicy heirloom tomatoes in a variety of colors. This will provide you with a variety of flavors, textures, and colors on the plate. The best time to enjoy this dish is definitely in the summer when tomatoes are in season.
- Fresh mozzarella: Don't settle for anything less than fresh mozzarella. This type of cheese is generally stored in water and has a much creamier, softer texture than other types of mozzarella.
- Fresh basil: Definitely use fresh basil for the best flavor.
- Scallops: I bought colossal sea scallops, previously frozen. While fresh is great, if you live in a place far from the sea, frozen seafood is always a good option. Just be sure to use sea scallops which are the larger scallops you see in the grocery store.
- Olive oil: The perfect oil to use when making Caprese salad. The simple flavors really allow the briny, herbal flavor of the olive oil to shine through.
- Lemon juice: Use freshly squeezed and serve up more lemon slices or wedges for garnish.
How to Make Seared Scallop Salad
When making this recipe, we're going to start with the salad first because the scallops cook so quickly. That way everything is ready to serve as soon as the scallops are cooked.
- Slice your tomatoes. You can use any type of tomatoes you want but the fresher the better. I used heirloom tomatoes as they are just really pretty and make such a lovely plate.
- Prep the basil. To slice it thinly, roll the leaves, and then thinly slice across into small pieces.
- Drain and slice the mozzarella as you prefer. If you're using the log or large round ball, it works great to slice. I used small mozzarella balls called, bocconcini, which are easy to simply cut in half.
How to Make Cast Iron Seared Scallops
Now that everything is ready to go, let's start on the scallops. I like to sear mine on a cast iron skillet or griddle. I just love that sear and highly recommend it!
- Start by patting them dry.
- Heat the griddle over medium heat until it is really hot.
- Add the oil to the pan to allow it to heat up.
- Add your scallops. Lightly sprinkle the tops of the scallops with salt and pepper.
- Let them cook in the same position for at least 3-5 minutes before trying to turn them. You will only want to turn these once.
- Once turned, cook the second side for about 30-60 seconds.
TOP TIP: It is good to remember that seafood is generally best cooked hot and fast. So make sure the pan is hot and don't overcook. Nothing worse than dry or chewy seafood.
How to Serve Scallop Salad
That's it! It was simple, right? Now, assemble and plate as desired. Once assembled, add a drizzle of olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Then sprinkle it all with a little flaky salt and fresh ground pepper.
- A hot pan is essential for cooking scallops.
- Don't move the scallops in the pan after adding them for at least three minutes. This way you get the nice caramel color on the scallops.
- Use fresh, ripe tomatoes. Whether you choose heirloom or simple red tomatoes it's important that they are ripe. This ensures they are juicy and flavorful.
- Make sure to remove the moisture from the scallops before cooking especially when using thawed, frozen scallops.
- Remember with most seafood dishes you want to cook hot and fast. If you don't, you will get tough seafood, and no one wants that!
- Be sure to prep the salad ingredients first since the scallops cook so quickly.
How do you make a good sear for scallops?
There are three important steps. First, make sure your scallops are dry. Next, thoroughly heat the pan before adding the scallops. Last, make sure you place the scallops in the hot pan and don't move or turn for at least three minutes.
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Easy Seared Scallop Salad
- Cast iron skillet or nonstick pan
- 1-2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 3-4 basil leaves, sliced or torn
- ½ pound scallops I used colossal, but you can use whatever kind you prefer!
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh lemon juice
- ½ pound fresh mozzarella, sliced or prepped for serving
- You will arrange the salad part however you want for serving. I make sure my tomatoes, basil and mozzarella are prepped before I start my scallops as they cook so quickly.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once it is heated, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil.
- When your pan is pretty hot, add in your scallops. Cook on one side for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully flip and cook on the other for about 30-45 seconds.
- Now, add your scallops to the plated caprese salad.
- Drizzle with a little more olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. That's it. Ready to go within 10-15 minutes. It is so worth it!
- Now sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!