Fourth of July

Scallops With Summery Peach & Fennel Salad

August 23, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by Melina Hammer
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 8 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

For me, summer food is bright and quickly prepared, so I can get back to work in the garden or ponder upcoming projects in the light-dappled hammock at Catbird Cottage. This dish delivers both in a beautiful, delicious fashion. Crunchy fennel serves as the perfect foil for tender, sweet, briny scallops. And the addition of juicy peaches brings unexpected delight. Choose diver scallops for a sustainable choice. Because these scallops go for a premium, commit to a number that feels doable. If they are large, three per person is ample. If they’re smaller (or if you’re especially hungry), five is also great. You be the judge. If you’d like, you can prepare the fennel portion of the salad in advance, then fold in the delicate peaches just before serving. —Melina Hammer

What You'll Need
  • Salad
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, untrimmed and with fronds still attached
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
  • 1 pinch flaky salt
  • Scallops
  • 6 to 10 diver scallops
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salted butter, divided
  1. Cut and save some fennel fronds for garnish. Trim and discard the stalks. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, shave the fennel into very thin slices.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine mustard, lemon juice, oil, and pepper. Add the fennel and toss until incorporated. (At this point, you can refrigerate the salad until you’re ready to eat.) Fold in the peaches and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  3. Pat dry the scallops. Set them on a plate and generously season with kosher salt.
  4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Once hot, reduce to medium-high, then add a tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat. As soon as the oil is hot (shimmery and pulling toward the edges of the pan), add half of the scallops, keeping a couple inches between each to avoid crowding. Cook for 1 minute, then add half of the butter, using a knife or tongs to drag it between the scallops. Cook for another 2 minutes until a golden crust forms, then use tongs to flip the scallops. Tip the pan toward you and use a spoon to repeatedly baste the scallops in the hot fat for about 30 seconds. The scallops are ready when they’re bouncy when pressed with the back of a spoon. Transfer them to a plate.
  5. Repeat the above step with the remaining scallops, oil, and butter.
  6. Divide the peach and fennel salad between two plates and nestle the scallops on top. Season with more flaky salt and black pepper, and scatter a few fennel fronds on top.

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Melina is the author of 'A Year at Catbird Cottage' with Ten Speed Press. She grows an heirloom and pollinator garden and forages wild foods at her namesake Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. Melina loves serving curated menus for guests from near and far seeking community amidst the hummingbirds, grosbeaks, finches, and the robust flavors of the seasons.

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