Seared Scallops with Spiced Corn & Tomato Succotash
- 2 lb scallops
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium sweet vidalia onion finely diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 5 ears of corn kernels removed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 plum tomatoes seeded and roughly chopped
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil plus 3 leaves julienned for garnish
- 1 tablespoon butter
Rinse the scallops under cold water and set aside on a dish towel. You want them to be dry by the time you are ready to cook, without breaking them by prodding with a towel.
In large nonstick or cast iron skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium flame. Saute the onion slowly until translucent and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and corn and continue to saute until the corn is bright yellow and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, turmeric, and salt. Cook for another few minutes until the corn is beginning to caramelize. Turn the heat down to low and add the tomatoes. Stir slowly until the tomatoes heated through, but have not begun to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon and the basil off the heat, and transfer to a platter.
In a large nonstick or cast iron skillet (you can remove the corn mixture to a platter, clean out the pan and use it for the scallops), heat one tablespoon of olive oil over a high flame. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the butter. Gently pat the scallops with a paper towel to make sure they are nice and dry and season them with salt on one side. When the butter is melted and the pan is smoking, add the scallops, making sure not to crowd the pan (you will likely need to do this in 2 or 3 batches). Turn the pan to keep the butter and oil evenly distributed, but DO NOT move the scallops until they have properly browned, about 2-3 minutes depending on the size of your scallops. When they have a good sear (dark brown crust), flip them and cook for another minute. The scallops should still be slightly translucent in the center–if they are opaque throughout, they will likely be overcooked by the time you serve them. Remove finished scallops to the corn platter, making sure to put the beautiful seared side facing up. Repeat with the remaining scallops.
Squeeze a little extra lemon juice over the scallops and garnish with julienned basil. Serve immediately.