Like most of our friends, my husband and I have resolved to eat well but healthier in the new year—plenty of vegetables, smaller portions of meats, more fish, and definitely more salads. The latter is a challenge in our house since my spouse is not enthusiastic about mounds of greens tossed in dressing. However, one salad has recently scored high points with him–baby spinach and sliced Belgian endives dressed in a sherry vinaigrette, topped with a sauté of mixed mushrooms and a trio of pan-seared scallops.
This salad is a study in contrasts. Warm mushrooms and scallops are arranged over room-temperature salad greens. The natural sweetness of the shellfish counters the slightly bitter accent of the endives, while the verdant spinach leaves are a colorful foil for the ivory-hued scallops and endive.
And, a blessing for cooks, this salad is simple to prepare. You can whip up the sherry vinaigrette and prep the endives and spinach well ahead. And you can sauté the mushrooms several hours in advance, then reheat them. At serving time, you just sear the scallops (count on about 5 minutes for this), then assemble the salad. Add a cup of soup if you like, and a good crusty baguette or artisan loaf. Voilà!. You’ll have a delectable and guilt-free winter supper or lunch!
Print This Recipe
Sautéed Sea Scallops and Mushrooms on a Bed of Baby Spinach and Endives with Sherry Vinaigrette
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp finely chopped shallots
3 tbsp unsalted butter plus extra if needed
3 tbsp canola oil plus extra if needed
8 oz mixed wild mushrooms such as shiitake, oyster, and crimini (See cooking tip)
1 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
Freshly ground black pepper
12 medium sea scallops with side muscles removed
Sherry vinegar for drizzling
6 cups (about 3 3/4 oz) baby spinach
2 small or 1 large Belgian endive, halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1.For the vinaigrette, in a large, nonreactive bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, then stir in the shallots. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. (Dressing can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and whisk before using.)
2.For salad, in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat, heat 2 tablespoons each of butter and oil until hot. Add mushrooms and sprinkle with tarragon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes or more. Season with more salt if needed. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon to a dinner plate and cover loosely with foil. (Mushrooms can be sautéed 2 hours ahead; reheat over medium heat.) Do not clean the skillet.
3. Add remaining one tablespoon each of butter and oil to the skillet. When hot, pat scallops dry and season with salt. Add them to the pan and cook 2 minutes, then turn and cook 2 to 3 minutes more until opaque and golden brown, adding extra butter and oil if needed. (Do not overcook as scallops will become tough.) Sprinkle each scallop with a little cayenne and drizzle with a little (1/4 tsp or less) sherry vinegar. Remove to a dinner plate and cover loosely with foil.
4. In a bowl toss spinach and endives with enough dressing to coat lightly.(You may have some left over; save for another use.) Season with salt and pepper if needed. Mound salad on four salad plates. Spoon some mushrooms on top of each serving and top with 3 scallops. Serves 4
Market tip: Some groceries sell packages of mixed sliced mushrooms, including shiitakes, baby bellas, and oysters. This is a convenient way to buy them. If unavailable, use 4 ounces shiitakes (stems removed and mushrooms sliced) and 4 ounces baby bellas trimmed and sliced through the stems.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2020