Seared Scallops with Fresh Cilantro Pesto
These scallops make a great first course, but you can easily serve it as main course by mixing the pesto with pasta. I use cilantro because it grows so well in the garden, but you can easily substitute your favorite pesto – basil or sun dried tomato would work well.
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup fresh parsley or baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
1-2 medium cloves garlic, chopped coarse
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of coarse kosher salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 pound sea scallops, about 16, small side muscles removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Pulse cilantro, pine nuts, garlic, zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in bowl of food processor until minced. With processor running, slowly add oil. Process until smooth; set aside.
2. Sprinkle scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat large (11-inch) sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add half the oil; swirl to coat bottom. Add butter and continue to heat pan until butter begins to turn golden brown. Add half the scallops, one at a time, flat side down; cook, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent fat from burning, until scallops are well browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
3.Using tongs, turn scallops, one at a time; cook 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer, depending on size. Repeat cooking process using remaining half of oil and scallops.
4. Serve 2-3 scallops on a small dollop of pesto.