Serves 2 people
1/2 lb maitake mushrooms, cleaned and separated into wedges (other mushrooms would work)
Neutral oil (avocado, canola)
10-12 scallops, large dry sea scallops (size U10/20)
2 cups cherry tomatoes
Chives, 1 tablespoon chopped
Start by cooking the mushrooms. Heat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat for a couple of minutes. Add in 1 tablespoon butter and place the mushrooms in leaving ample space around them. Let them brown and crisp on one side (2-3 min) flip and brown on the other side. Season them with salt once they’re done. Salting mushrooms during cooking can draw out moisture and impede browning so it’s usually best to season mushrooms after browning. Remove to a plate.
Wipe the pan out with a paper towel and add in 2 tablespoons of neutral oil. Dry the scallops with a paper towel, remove the side muscle, and season them with salt. Once the pan is heated and there are wisps of smoke, place the scallops in the pan, flat side down. Leave between them so they can brown nicely. Let them caramelize and brown for 2.5-3 min. Flip them carefully and cook for another 1-2 min. The scallop is done when each side is nicely browned and it's just turned opaque in the middle. Remove them to a plate.
Drain off excess oil leaving 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan. Add the tomatoes and 1 teaspoon butter. Give them a good shake every once and awhile. Let them cook and they should start to burst after about 4-5 min. Help them along by mashing them with the back of a spoon. They’ll start to form their own sauce (add a bit of water if they’re not juicy). Season them with salt and pepper. They’ll pick up the caramelized bits from the scallops adding even more flavor. Remove the tomatoes when they’ve burst but not completely fallen apart. Finish with lemon zest (a few zests) and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
To plate, spoon the burst tomatoes and their juices on plates. Nestle the scallops around the tomatoes and arrange the mushrooms accordingly. Finish with the chopped chives and a few zests of lemon juice.
Look for scallops that are dry-packed or diver-caught. Most of the scallops sold are wet packed which means they are treated with a preservative that helps them retain moisture. Avoid scallops that are slimy, wet looking and smell. Scallops are sold according to how many per pound 10/20 means there are 10-20 scallops per pound (shrimp are sold the same way). Use the Seafood Watch app from Monterey Bay Aquarium to buy sustainably harvested scallops.