This is an amazing recipe that’s super easy to make and lovely for the Spring:
Before we share the recipe, a quick discussion on the three ways scallops arrive on your plate:
- They are farmed.
- They are dredged.
- They are harvested by hand (i.e. diver)
Although the technology has changed over the years, a dredge is essentially a snowplow that is dragged across the floor of the ocean. It occasionally has teeth that dig further into the bottom; It disturbs and arguably destroys much of what it contacts. According to OceanWise and many of the fishermen I’ve known in my life, this method is extremely destructive.
The most sustainable method is diver-harvested although some farming methods are sound as well.
There is a short but balanced article from 2010 from the BBC which shares a scientists opinion that not all dredging is necessarily a problem though the problem that does exist is considerable and calls for a ban. There are many choices when it comes to scallops and many are sustainable according to OceanWise. Check out their list to learn more.
If your fish monger doesn’t know where your scallops were caught or how they were harvested, stay away. Before buying dredged scallops, imagine what would happen if we disturbed only the top 6-12 inches of soil across an entire farm or city.
Scallops are a treat in our house so we like to keep them simple. The keys to this dish are fresh (even if frozen) scallops and fresh asparagus (this salad would be awful with asparagus that was less than fresh) as neither are cooked traditionally. The flavors are simple and beautiful. While either recipe is good independently, they are even better together.
- Olive Oil (a few tablespoons)
- Lemons (we used 2.5)
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- Asparagus (we used 8 large spears)
- Scallops (we used 1 pound)
- Chile flakes (to taste)
- Rinse scallops, drain and pat dry.
- Slice scallops into small pieces, place in a small bowl.
- Cover scallops with juice of two lemons and about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add chile flakes to your heart’s content.
- Cover and place bowl in fridge for 30-60 minutes (no longer); stir every 10 minutes or so. The longer you wait, the more cured/firm they will become. These do not make great leftovers.
- Drain before plating.
- Garnish with coarse salt right before serving.
Asparagus Salad (I make this after the scallops go in fridge)
- Break the stalks off where they naturally snap.
- Use a sharp potato peeler to peel slices (start just under the tip – you can cook the tips separately). You may have to cut the last 2-3 pieces manually.
- Rest the strips in a small bowl.
- Add the juice of a half lemon and 2 teaspoons (you can judge by eye) to the asparagus.
- Season with pepper (I like lots though you may prefer to be subtle), stir.
- Place in fridge, stirring every 10 minutes or so; it’s ready in 15-60 minutes (or ny time in between).
- Drain before serving and season with coarse salt on the plate.
I like to serve this with potato chips or thin crackers but even lettuce will do (I take a bite of all 3 things at the same time for maximum impact). Although I’m happy with my potato chips, I’m not thrilled with them yet so that recipe will have to wait for another day!