Since I have no formal culinary training and learned to cook by reading cookbooks or by watching and talking to my mother and grandmother, I have had to painfully work my way through many mistakes. And I’m still learning! There always seems to be some new ingredient, technique, or flavor profile to learn and explore. I love making the kitchen my lifelong science experiment.
That said, one of the earlier lessons I had to learn was how to ‘let it be’ and let a protein properly sear. Less is more. So here’s to less poking, prodding, and moving around, in order to allow for a proper maillard reaction and the tasty results that ensue! The seared protein will release on its own from a well-heated pan once it’s ready to be flipped.
For a quick weeknight dinner the other night, I made Seared Scallops with Avocado and Watermelon Radishes, inspired by this gorgeous recipe from Epicurious.
Seared Scallops with Avocado and Watermelon Radish
- 3-4 small watermelon radishes, very thinly sliced on a mandoline
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon yuzu juice
- Kosher salt
- 8 sea scallops (about 1 pound), side muscles removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 avocado, very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh grapefruit juice
- a few sprigs of cilantro, as garnish
- Toss daikon, vinegar, and yuzu juice in a medium bowl; season with salt. Set aside.
- Pat scallops dry and season scallops with salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Add scallops and cook until seared and golden brown but still raw in the center, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Let cool slightly, then slice each scallop crosswise into 2 rounds.
- Divide avocado among plates; drizzle with lemon juice and season with salt.
- Set scallops on avocado and drizzle grapefruit juice and oil over. Top with grapefruit zest and season with salt to taste. Arrange reserved and drained watermelon radishes over and among the scallops. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.