Scallops with Hazelnuts over Mixed Greens
Serves 4 as an appetizer
16 sea scallops, tough hinge muscle removed
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup roughly chopped hazelnuts
1 small shallot, finely minced
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon hazelnut oil
5 – 6 ounces mixed salad greens
Line a large plate with at least two layers of paper towels. Place the scallops on the towels, allowing some room between them. Cover with more paper towels, and press down lightly to release liquid from the scallops. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil with the butter over medium-high heat in a skillet that will hold the scallops in a single layer without touching each other. (If you don’t have a skillet that big, cook the scallops in two batches, using fresh oil and butter for the second batch).
While the butter is foaming, remove the top paper towels from the scallops and season them with salt and pepper. When the foaming stops, but before the butter begins to brown, put the scallops in the skillet, seasoned side down. Season the top side. Cook for 2 minutes, the scallops should be brown on the bottom. Turn them and cook for 2 more minutes, basting once with a little of the butter and oil in the skillet. Take the scallops out of the skillet and let them rest on a plate.
While the scallops are cooking, mix up a dressing of the vinegar, the hazelnut oil, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil with some salt and pepper. Dress the greens and distribute them on four plates.
Once the scallops are cooked, add the hazelnuts to the skillet and cook for a minute to brown them slightly. Add the shallot and cook for 30 seconds, then add the wine and cook until it reduces nearly to a syrup, 4 to 5 minutes.
Place four scallops on the greens on each plate. Top with the sauce and serve immediately.