Seared scallops with pancetta-braised chard

IMG_0478We developed a taste for scallops during our recent sojourn in Florida, so now that we’re back we decided to try our hand at making them in our decidedly more land-locked surroundings. Our local Fresh Market had some pretty large specimens on display tonight, which gave me the idea to try out a recipe I first read on the Food and Wine Magazine website: pan-seared scallops with a bacon and chard base. I don’t cook with chard often, and I don’t like it as much as the kale we used in our last scallop dish, but I figured what the hell — let’s get some rainbow chard and get cooking.

Seared Scallops with pancetta-braised chard
(inspired by Food and Wine Magazine)

  • img_53474 slices pancetta, cut into lardons
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard, stems cut into 1/2″ strips, leaves cut into 1″ strips
  • 1 medium tomato, diced and de-seeded
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 8-12 sea scallops
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a deep cast-iron skillet, fry the pancetta until crisp. Add the shallots, sauteeing until they become soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 more minutes (being careful not to brown the garlic). Add the tomato and cook until it begins to break down, then add the chard stems. Cook the stems until they become tender, then add the leaves. Cook until the leaves are wilted; season with salt and pepper.

For the scallops, make sure they are very dry and dust them with a coating of salt and pepper. In a separate (screamingly hot skillet) sear the scallops in olive oil for 1-2 minutes. Flip the scallops, adding the butter to the skillet. Spoon the butter over the scallops as they sear on the other side. Arrange seared scallops on the chard mixture, and serve.

This is a fine and quick recipe, and if you do all your chopping and mincing in advance, you should have no problems juggling two pans. The sweetness of the scallops goes nicely with the earthiness of the chard, and this is sure to be a great main course (with sides) or a light starter to get things rolling. Happy cooking!

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