Salad of Sea Scallops, Summer Corn and Shaved Fennel with Coconut Lime Dressing
By Heidi Allison
When it’s just too damn hot to turn on that oven, this is a great summer salad that is healthy, light and packed with flavor. The dressing takes its cue from Thai cuisine, using three forms of coconut, fresh lime, serrano, cilantro and a dash of that “secret ingredient,” fish sauce, to round it all out. This addictive dressing, which is really more like an emulsion, can do double-duty as a sauce for grilled fish, crab, black mussels, steamed fingerling or Yukon gold potatoes and jasmine rice.
Several tips make this recipe work; do just a light dusting of flour on the scallops, which acts to dry their surface so the flesh browns and creates a light, golden-brown crust. Make sure not to crowd the scallops in the skillet — the flour crust will steam, rather than brown, and become soggy.
Coconut Lime Dressing
Serves: 2 as entree; 3-4 as a side
Makes 1 Cup
1 cup coconut milk, no added sugar
3 TBS. coconut cream
3 TBS. freshly-squeezed lime juice, about 2 juicy limes
Zest of 1 lime
1 TBS. light brown sugar
¼ tsp. Thai fish sauce, optional
½ cup coconut water w/sugar added
1 serrano, seeded and sliced into rounds
½ cup cilantro, chopped
¼ tsp. sea salt
Add all the ingredients to a Ninja bullet and blend about 1 minute, or until blended. Cover container and place in refrigerator for at least one hour, to allow flavors to develop and texture to thicken.
1 fennel bulb; thinly sliced, green fronds minced
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into a ¼ inch dice
4 ears sweet corn
Fill a large pot with water and place and heat on medium-high until boiling. Place corn into water and return to a boil. Immediately, turn off heat and cover. Allow corn to sit in hot water for 15 minutes. Remove corn and cut kernels from cobb, then set aside.
Sea Scallops Preparation:
1 lb. sea scallops
1 tsp. kosher sea salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 cup AP flour
1 cup grape seed or California olive oil
Place AP Flour on a sheet of foil or wax paper. Sprinkle 1 tsp. sea salt and ½ tsp. black pepper over flour and mix with your finger tips to combine. Place scallops in flour and roll around with your fingers to lightly dust all sides of the scallops.
Heat oil over medium in a skillet till hot or simmering. Add scallops, making sure not to crowd. After 1½ minutes, turn over and continue to sauté for another minute, or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on market brown bags or grid cooling sheet.
Place corn kernels, shaved fennel and diced red bell pepper on a serving plate. Top with scallops and green fennel frond. Sprinkle sea salt over salad. Pour 3 TBS. of coconut lime dressing over and serve immediately. Bring extra dressing to the table.