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Georges Bank Scallops
with Arugula, Lemon,
Sweet Peppers
and Avocado-Bacon Cream
Makes 6 Appetizer Servings
*1/2 pound apple-smoked bacon, cut into very small pieces
*2 just-ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
*Lemon juice
*Kosher or sea salt to taste
*2 cups heavy cream
*Ground pepper to taste
*Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
*1/2 pound fresh field arugula
*1 red bell pepper
*1 green bell pepper
*1 yellow bell pepper
*3 lemons, peeled and segmented
*Kosher sea salt and ground black pepper
*1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted to golden brown
*2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs
*Zest of one orange, lemon and lime
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*Coarse sea salt to taste
*1 tablespoon ground black pepper
*2 tablespoons mild olive oil or salad oil
*12 U/10-size dry pack sea scallops
1To prepare the Avocado-Bacon Cream, in a saute pan, render the cut bacon over medium-high heat until dark brown. Let bacon cool in its fat to room temperature.
2In a food processor, puree the avocado with a splash of lemon juice and pinch of salt until very smooth, like the texture of mayonnaise. Place the puree in a mixing bowl, add the cream and gently whip into the avocado puree until incorporated and slightly fluffy. Fold in the bacon and rendered fat. Season as needed with lemon, salt and pepper. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper if spiciness is desired.
3To prepare the salad, de-stem the arugula and wash by submerging in cold water. You may need to wash two or three times, draining and using fresh water each time. Test by eating a few leaves. There should be no grittiness. Let arugula dry by draining well for about an hour.
4On a very hot grill or in a very hot oven, roast the peppers, turning and blistering the skin on all sides. Place peppers in a bowl and cover for 15 minutes. While warm, peel and seed the peppers. Do not run peppers under water to peel and seed as you will lose vital flavor. Cut peppers into 1/4-inch strips.
5To prepare the scallops, combine herbs, citrus zest, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix together with oil. Clean and remove the side muscle off of each scallop. Toss fully in marinade and let stand for at least two hours. (Scallops will hold well in marinade for up to three days. However, the longer in marinade, the more pronounced the marinade's flavor would be.)
6When ready to serve, heat a large pan, skillet or grill until very hot. Cook scallops on each side until very brown, about three minutes on first side and two minutes on second side. Scallops should be medium rare with a little translucency in the middle when cut open.
7To plate, toss the arugula with peppers and lemon segments. Season as you desire with salt and pepper. Place salad on the top edge of the plate, displaying the peppers on top and sprinkle with the pine nuts. On the front edge of the plate, spoon two dollops of the avocado cream and place a scallop on each dollop. Serve immediately.
Executive Chef Casey Riley, Castle Hill Inn & Resort, Newport, RI