Scallop Salad with Sesame Dressing

Oils are acquiring the cachet of wine. Many Italian wineries also put their name to an olive oil and you may choose extra virgin, first cold pressing, filtered or unfiltered according to how you intend using it. The era of cabbage-lettuce and salad cream has given way to a rainbow of crisp leaves dressed in very specific oils and perhaps a balsamic vinegar 10 or 20 years old from Modena.

Walnut and sesame oils are travelling the same road, and sesame oil now comes either light so that you may fry with it or dark, from roast seeds, and intensely flavoured for dressings.

Just to complicate the issue I use a 50/50 combination of the two as I find the dark oil a shade too powerful.

Ingredients

  • 12 scallops
  • sesame oil
  • a selection of salad leaves: lollo rosso, curly endive, oakleaf (feuilles de chêne), batavia and corn salad (mâché)
  • ¼ oz (7.5 g) pine kernels
  • 2 firm tomatoes, skinned and de-seeded

Sesame dressing

  • ¼ oz (7.5 g) pine kernels
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 small knob ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon white wine

To Complete

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • sesame oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt

Method

The sesame dressing

  1. In a liquidiser, blend the pine kernels with the sesame oil, the lemon juice, soy sauce, ginger, coriander and white wine. In seconds this will emulsify into a dressing the consistency of single cream.

The scallops

    All the observations on scallops attached to the recipe apply. Basically very fresh scallops, and no prolonged contact with water.

  • Clean and slice the scallops horizontally into three. Brush with a few drops of sesame oil and refrigerate until the moment they are to be cooked.

The salad

  • Compose an interesting salad from the lettuces you have bought. The bitterness of the leaves should be a foil to the sweetness of the scallops.
  • Toast the pine kernels and sprinkle them on top. Slice the tomatoes into strips and add them to the lettuces.

To Complete

  • Cook the scallops in a hot dry pan for a few seconds. Fry them in two or even three batches lest the volume of scallops reduces the pan heat to the extent that they bubble and boil instead of sealing instantly.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds across the scallops and remove from the pan.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of sesame oil across the salads. Squeeze a few drops of lemon on them also and, of course, a fine spray of salt. Spoon some sesame dressing around and across the salads and place the scallops wherever they look best.
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