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Seared Sea Scallops With Lentils

Sea scallops are the big ones–the bigger, the better. See if you can locate “diver,” “day boat” or “dry-pack” scallops, which have not been processed for shelf life. The lentils may not sound like a natural partner for scallops, but trust me: beans go brilliantly with seafood. This pairing is particularly good.

  • 3/4 cup dried lentils, soaked for two hours or overnight
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. chopped onions
  • 2 Tbs. chopped celery
  • 1/2 tsp. savory (or oregano)
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 dashes Tabasco
  • 2 lbs. large sea scallops
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 2 Tbs. Creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt

1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and celery, and cook until soft.

2. Add the lentils and all the other ingredients in the first section of the list, plus enough water to cover the lentils by about a half-inch. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for one hour. Stir now and then during the cooking. The lentils are ready when they can be squashed between thumb and forefinger but are still a little firm. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

3. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat. Dust the scallops with the Creole seasoning and salt. Dip them into the melted butter, and sear them on each side for one or two minutes, depending on size. They should bulge noticeably when they’re ready. Scallops don’t need a lot of cooking, so if you think they may be done, they probably are.

4. Spoon the scallops on warm plates in a line across the plate, Set four to six scallops, depending on size, onto the lentils. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Serves four entrees or eight appetizers.

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