When Brussels sprouts aren’t to be had, simply sauteing tart greens with the bacon makes a great foil for the scallops. The success of this dish totally depends on the size of the pan. Use the largest saute pan you have. To get a golden sear, it is essential not to crowd the Brussels sprouts or the scallops. If the skillet is too crowded (you will see the sprouts or scallops throwing off water), cook them in batches and return everything back to the pan for a final quick reheat just before serving.
1 cup water
1 pound small Brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed and halved, or 3 to 4 large handfuls of arugula or curly endive, coarsely chopped
3 slices good-quality bacon, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tightly packed tablespoons tarragon, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish
1 pound sea scallops
In a straight-sided 12-inch saute pan, combine the water, Brussels sprouts, bacon and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
Cook until the water has boiled off, 6 to 7 minutes, and the bacon begins to render some of its fat.
(If using greens, cook the bacon and greens together with 1/2 cup water.)
Lower the heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, the onion and the 2 tablespoons of tarragon and continue sauteing.
Give them plenty of room in the pan, so they will brown. Do not over-stir. They need to sit in one place and brown.
When they are nicely browned on all sides and the bacon is crisp, pull the pan off the heat, and scoop the mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
With a wad of paper towels, wipe out the skillet and return pan to the stove.
Heat it over medium-high heat, add a scant 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then add the scallops, again leaving plenty of room between them so they will brown. Season them with salt and pepper to taste.
Let them sear in one spot for 1 to 2 minutes, then check them for a rich brown color.
If nicely browned, turn them, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking on the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the Brussels sprouts mixture back to the pan and continue to cook everything until the scallops are still a little soft when pressed.
Scoop them out of the pan onto a serving platter, then spoon the sprouts and their seasonings over the scallops. Serve hot. Serves 4.
Per serving: 248 calories; 12 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 44 percent calories from fat); 14 g carbohydrates; 36 mg cholesterol; 598 mg sodium; 21 g protein; 5 g fiber.