I was really scared to make this. Scallops used to scare me, but not anymore. I thought this would be a perfect recipe to introduce myself to them. I used Bay Scallops isntead of Sea Scallops because they were a bit smaller and what I was going for with regards to size. I really loved them and they were really interesting to make, very quick. I had no idea but they have little white muscles on the sides of them that you pull off. They come off very easily and I am glad that I noticed that in the directions. The scallops were so tasty and easy to make. I absolutely loved how the rice complemented them well.
Speaking of the rice... oh my gosh! This is the absolute best rice I have ever made in my entire life! ENTIRE LIFE! Seriously if I ever have to make another rice dish on the side .. this will be it. I never have made long-grain rice before or put other things in my rice. Boy oh boy was it worth it! The rice was so soft!!! I actually substituted corn for the suggested peas in the recipe because if you didn't already know (from my pot pie recipe) I cannot stand peas .. at all. The corn brought a wonderful flavor and it was absolutely delicious! It also has some bacon and my husband came downstairs while I was cooking it and was very excited that some part of the meal (he didn't care which part) incorporated bacon. He said he could smell the bacon from a mile away.
Spicy Scallops with Vegetable-Rice Pilaf
Adapted from: Essentials of Healthful Cooking, Williams-Sonoma
1 cup long-grain rice
3/4 cup frozen corn (or peas if you prefer)
2 slices bacon
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion, whites only
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground or finely crushed dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 lb sea or bay scallops (bay scallops are smaller, pictured above)
2 tsp canola oil
lemon wedges, optional
In a heavy saucepan, bring 2 cups water and pinch of salt to a boil. slowly add in the long-grain rice, stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover and make sure rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed. If not, continue to cook on low covered a few minutes at a time.
During the last 5-10 minutes of the rice cooking, fry the bacon in a small skillet on medium heat and set aside on a paper towel and plate. When cooled, chop into tiny bits. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the red onoin and green onion to the bacon grease reamaining in the pan. Saute until translucent, about 3-4 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary. Stir in the frozen corn (or peas) and continue to cook a few extra minutes.
Transfer the cooked rice to a large mixing bowl along with bacon pieces and vegetable mixture from skillet. Toss gently with a fork to combine and cover with saran wrap to keep warm.
To make the spice mixture, in a small bowl stir together paprika, garlic and onion powders, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper. Measure out 1.5 tbsp to season scallops with and save the rest in airtight container for next time (may be stored for up to 4 weeks). Remove the small, white muscle on the side of the scallops. They come of very easily so this can be done with no utensils. spread scallops on plate or cutting board evenly in a single layer and sprinkle with half of the seasoning. Turn over and season the other side of scallops.
In a large frying pan on medium heat, warm the canola oil. Add scallops in a single layer. Cook until seared and slightly blackened, about 2-3 minutes. Using tongs turn the scallops and cook and sear the other side an additional 2 minutes.
Scoop 1/4 of the rice mixture onto a serving dish and top with warm scallops. Accompany with lemon wedges if desired. Serve immediately.