Scallops with Crisped Speck and Herbed Lentils
Succulent sea scallops are a sharp contrast to crisped speck -- a spiced, cured ham. The melding of salty and sweet is moderated by the fresh yet earthy flavors of spinach and lentils.
- Servings: 4
Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2007
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 shallot, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 ounces Italian speck (such as speck Alto Adige), cut into 8 thin slices
- 12 sea scallops (about 1 1/4 pounds), tough muscles removed
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
- 2 cups (about 2 ounces) baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Combine lentils, celery, shallot, thyme, and bay leaf in a saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Drain, and discard bay leaf. Return lentils to pan. Stir in 3 tablespoons oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Lay 4 slices speck in skillet in a single layer. Cook, pressing flat with a spatula and flipping slices if necessary, until crisp on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels in a warm place. Repeat with remaining 4 slices speck.
Return skillet with drippings to medium-high heat. Season scallops on all sides with salt and pepper. Add to skillet, and cook, flipping once, until both sides are golden brown and centers are opaque, about 2 1/2 minutes per side.
Add orange zest, lemon zest, parsley, and chives to the lentils, and stir to combine. Toss spinach with vinegar and remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange scallops and lentils on 4 plates, and drizzle with oil. Top with speck. Place spinach next to lentils. Serve immediately.