PAN SEARED SEA SCALLOPS WITH HAZELNUTS AND WATERCRESS (for two)
1 small bunch watercress, thick stems trimmed, leaves washed thoroughly and spun dry
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 large sea scallops (about 1 pound)
1-½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1/3 cup chopped shallots
¼ cup husked hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1. Spread watercress on a platter.
2. Cook butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until deep golden brown and most of foam subsides, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, reserving skillet.
3. Sprinkle scallops with salt, pepper and ½ teaspoon thyme. Heat reserved skillet over high heat until very hot, then add the scallops. Reduce the heat to moderately high and cook 5 to 7 minutes, unmoved, until almost cooked – they should be opaque almost all the way through. Flip them over and sear for only 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer scallops to platter with watercress. Add shallots, hazelnuts and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme to skillet; stir 30 seconds and remove skillet from heat. Add browned butter and vinegar and stir to blend. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper and pour over the scallops. Serve immediately.
adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, March, 2005