Sunday, September 14, 2008
Like Making Lemons Out of Lemonade...
Usually I am a very confident cook. I don't claim to be an expert in the kitchen, but I'm comfortable there, and if something doesn't taste quite right, I'll add a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and generally it turns out well.
So I'm writing to admit a kitchen mishap: apparently, I can't poach eggs. Well, I bet I could if I practiced enough times, but my first try was a big fat disaster. Maybe the water wasn't hot enough, or maybe I just got overly confident, but my water was full of stringy whites that barely set up. I couldn't even salvage the yolks. Sigh.
My original intent was to serve the poached egg over a spring-greens salad with seared scallops and pancetta...so when the poaching didn't happen, I just made a vinaigrette with another egg yolk to maintain the creamy richness a poached egg would have added to the salad. It was very yummy, even though it wasn't my original plan...
Seared Scallop Salad
12 medium scallops
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4 to 6 thin slices pancetta
4 thick slices ciabatta bread
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced (need about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
1 bag spring greens
Rinse scallops, and and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 to 3 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add scallops and sear until golden and opaque, about 2 minutes per side, depending on size. Be careful not to overcook.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook the pancetta until crisp, then drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Break into smaller pieces, and set aside. Toast the bread, in a toaster oven, toaster, or 450-degree oven, until golden brown. While bread is still hot, rub each piece with the garlic clove, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a touch of salt. Cut into bite-size pieces, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, Dijon, and egg yolk. Add a pinch of salt. Using a whisk, whisk in olive oil (about 1/4 cup) until the dressing comes together. Taste, and adjust seasoning. In a large, shallow bowl, toss the lettuce with some dressing (add a little bit to start, toss, and keep adding dressing until the greens are dressed to your liking). Add the pancetta and croutons, and toss again. Top with scallops, and serve.