I love salads. Yes I do.
I’ve created so many different salads over the years, so this blog will finally be my way of writing them all down!
So you’ll see as I post more recipes that a good portion of them will be salads. It probably was one of the first things I started experimenting with in the kitchen, and the thing I was told to make for all our family functions as a kid.
It’s so disappointing when I go into restaurants and all they have is the standard caesar, greek, cobb, italian chopped, etc.. What lack of imagination! I mean, don’t get me wrong, bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes, all those things that go in say, a cobb, are delicious. But there are so many more possibilities, so many combinations!
If you have a favorite ingredient, we can find a way to get it into a salad! I’ve heard grumblings from so many men out there who claim to hate salads, or if they have one its got to be smothered with blue cheese or ranch dressing. And though I love me some blue cheese dressing, I know there are some other winner out there for the menfolk. Give me a shot, I can convert almost anyone (my children excluded… they won’t touch the stuff …sigh)
So last night this was the main course, coriander crusted sea scallops with cara cara oranges and arugula.
It was utterly delicious.
Ok, so I know its not for everybody. To be honest, I think the first time I tried a scallop was in my early 20s (see I’m really not a food snob, I’m regular folk!) And to be double honest the recipient of this salad is on a diet. That said, this is still some yummy diet food!
The vinaigrette on this salad is sweet and has a little bite from the ginger. It goes perfectly with the scallops, as do those sweet cara cara oranges. Coriander is a spice I never really used until recently. It has a wonderful sweet and nutty aroma and it gives rubs such an interesting depth. I sprinkle it on chicken before roasting it, and its out of this world on pork chops.
Lets make the blood orange vinaigrette first
3 Tablespoons blood orange sorbet
Yes, its ice cream. Not your typical vinaigrette ingredients, I know, but its tart and sweet and it works. You can just as well substitute frozen orange juice concentrate, if you want to use something cheaper and more accessible.
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar. It’s a little sweeter than the brown variety, and won’t discolor the ingredients … because we eat with our eyes as well as our mouths…
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil, whisk it in with a fork
2 teaspoons grated/minced ginger. I used these great frozen cubes of ginger from “Dorat”. That way you just use a few cubes and then the rest can be stored in the fridge for months.
add 1/2 tsp salt and fresh ground pepper.
Meet my friend the shallot. He goes in all my vinaigrettes. He just has this je n’sait quoi about him, a special sweet onion like flare. And so he’s become indispensable to me!
Chop him up nice n fine.
Cut off one end, the pointy tip
and then make long vertical slices like so. Don’t cut all the way through to the other end. The root of the shallot will hold it together while you make the slices.
and horizontal slices, about 2 more. Notice how I don’t cut all the way to the end of the shallot. This keeps it together.
now chop, and you’ll have a perfect dice. I use this technique to chop onions, tomatoes, and about anything round that needs to be diced.
I f you want an even finer chop, go over it one more time with your knife. Use a see saw motion with you knife, putting pressure first on the tip of your knife, and then at the back of the blade. Use this rocking motion whenever you are chopping on your cutting board. I always put my left hand on the back of the knife to apply pressure while doing this. Hope this makes sense!
Add a Tablespoon or 2 to your vinaigrette. The acidity of the vinegar mellows out any spiciness in the shallot.
Now for the cara cara oranges.
We’re going to cut the oranges into segments. It’s an elegant way to eat any type of citrus fruit. And of course most importantly it tastes better, in my opinion anyway!
So first cup off both ends of the orange, just until you remove the pith or white part.
Using your pairing knife (a short small knife), cut along the sides of the orange, turning the orange as you go, until you’ve removed all the peel and pith.
Now for the scallops…
rinse them and pat dry, then sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
If you have coriander seeds, pound them with a mallet in a little plastic baggy. I had ground coriander which worked fine.
press both of the flat sides of the scallop into the spice. Then gently shake off any excess.
Seared scallops are essentially rare at the center. Otherwise they don’t have that tender sweet flavor they’re famous for. So get your pan smoking hot, add 1-2 Tablespoons oil and sear for no more than 30 seconds per side, 1 minute total, just until there’s a nice golden crust. Thats why its important to use a really heavy pan that can get really hot.
Now toss the arugula with the vinaigrette, and place the orange sections and seared scallops on top. Sprinkle with a little bit of chopped cilantro and put a few drops of vinaigrette on each scallop. I’m salivating right now just thinking about it…
Coriander crusted sea scallops with cara cara oranges and wild arugula
3 T blood orange sorbet or frozen orange juice concentrate
2 T white balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt, black pepper to taste
2 T minced shallot (about 1 whole)
2 Cara Cara oranges or 3 ripe blood oranges
3 cups baby or wild arugula
10 jumbo sea scallops
2 T ground coriander
2 T vegetable or olive oil (for searing)
2 T chopped cilantro
salt and pepper