Seared Scallops with Salsa Verde

I have some serious writers block. I have been staring at this page for nearly an hour without placing even a word on it. Okay, maybe I wasn’t just staring at this page; I was doing some other things on the computer, chatting with my husband, and watching some recorded late night talk shows. But I really wanted to share this recipe with you. I know some people who have hoards of parsley in their gardens, and the salsa verde served with these scallops is a great way to put this fresh herb to use.

I had salsa verde for the first time at a little Italian grocery store in Winnipeg. I had ordered a sandwich, and the clerk behind the counter recommended I put it on. I trusted him, and was thankful for it. It was a zingy sauce from the salty anchovies and capers, and the pungent garlic – complementing my sandwich with salami, mozza and roasted red peppers. I was instantly converted to a lover of Italian salsa verde. Not to be confused with tex-mex salsa verde that uses green tomatillos in place of red tomatoes, this salsa verde is an herby green sauce that Italians dress their meals with.

If you think you don’t like anchovies, please don’t leave them out – just give this a try before making your final verdict. This sauce just may convert you. The salsa verde keeps for about 2 weeks in the fridge – the garlic is going to get too bitter before the sauce would really go bad. Add it to your sandwiches and wraps throughout the week; or serve it with grilled or roasted meats and fish.

Seared Scallops with Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde recipe Adapted from David Rocco’s Dolce Vita by David Rocco

You can make the salsa verde in a food processor or blender if you like – it’ll create a more even consistency if that’s what you’re looking for. I followed David Rocco’s method, and simply used my chef’s knife to do all the chopping for me. 

For the Salsa Verde
1 large bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
4-6 fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves
3-4 anchovy fillets
2 Tbsp capers, drained
1/2 – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Scallops
8 large Digby Scallops (or 8 oz of scallops)
kosher salt & pepper
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
lemon wedges (optional)

Roughly chop the parsley leaves, basil and garlic on a wooden cutting board until they are about half-way chopped. Add the anchovies and capers to the pile of herbs and continue to chop until everything is evenly minced. Place the herby, salty mixture into a small mason jar and add the olive oil to fill the jar. Have a quick taste to determine whether you need to add salt (the anchovies and capers can be quite salty, so don’t add any at first). This is ready to use; store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

To cook the scallops: pat the scallops dry. In order to obtain a really good sear, you need them as dry as you can get them. Heat a cast-iron or heavy bottom frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil. Season the scallops liberally with salt and pepper. Once the butter is melted, add the scallops to the pan. Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes, flip them over and continue cooking the other side for an addition 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and serve with salsa verde and lemon wedges.

Serves 2. (But makes a jar’s worth of salsa verde to use later)

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