Even though the weather is turning colder, there are still traces of summer in the markets throughout the city. I made this dish for some friends last Sunday after they came home from Santa Cruz with 60 lbs of heirloom tomatoes. They had so many tomatoes; we were struggling to find uses for them all. We made a Golden Tomato Soup to freeze for easy weeknight meals, a simple, but delicious Caprese Salad, and this scallop dish. This is the tail end of the corn season and nothing goes better with corn than really good tomatoes. I’ve been crazy about creamed corn since I was a little girl, and it was the perfect base for the crispy, sweet scallops and bright, smoky salsa. I added a bit of red onion, a little garlic and some fresh basil to the salsa and it came together in minutes. The whole dish looks beautiful and is really simple to prepare – a blender for the creamed corn helps, too. This is probably my last summer recipe before I concentrate on squash, apples and all of the flavors of fall, so enjoy it with me. I’ll be excited to make this recipe again next summer when corn and tomatoes come back into our lives again.
Active Time: 30 minutes
Serves 4 as a First Course
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced (about 2 cups)
2 large cloves garlic, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
4 ears of yellow corn, kernels cut off
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup grated pecorino cheese
Tomato & Bacon Salsa
½ lb thick cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch strips
¼ cup finely diced red onion
1½ cups diced heirloom tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
4 large fresh sea scallops, catch mussel removed, rinsed and patted dry
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Melt the butter and olive oil together in a sauté pan over medium heat until the butter is bubbling. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn the heat to high and add the corn and lemon zest. Sauté corn for 2, stirring frequently. Add the white wine and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the corn is plump and cooked through and any liquid has evaporated. Add the milk, cream and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly. Transfer to a blender and pulse until corn has a slightly chunky texture. Pour the mixture back into the sauté pan and stir in the pecorino. Keep the mixture warm until serving.
Tomato & Bacon Salsa
Heat a small sauté pan over high heat, and add the bacon. Cook bacon until browned and crispy. Transfer the bacon to a medium bowl and keep the sauté pan with bacon fat to sear the scallops in.
Add the red onion, tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and basil to the bowl with the bacon and toss.
Heat the sauté pan with bacon fat over high heat. Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot add the scallops. Sear for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, depending on the size, until a golden crust has formed. Turn the pan off and pour the lemon juice over the scallops.
While the scallops are searing, divide the creamed corn between shallow bowls. Place a large spoonful of salsa in the center of each bowl. Once scallops are seared, place scallops on top of the salsa and garnish with a fresh basil leaf.