Skillet Suppers: Seared Scallops with Israeli Couscous


[Photographs: Yasmin Fahr]

Making dinner during the late summer months is one of the best times of year with all of the fresh produce available. I have a minor obsession (read: major) with tomatoes, so I like to put them in almost anything. But, of course, there is also corn, zucchini, and tons of fresh herbs to throw in the mix. With that said, it's fun to take advantage and prepare quick and healthy meals out of them. Like this one.

Instead of going for a traditional pasta salad, I opted for whole-wheat Israeli couscous (often called pearled) because it has a nutty, chewy characteristic that readily absorbs sauces and flavors—one reason that I cooked it in a vegetable broth. Though this is intended as a summer dish, the vegetables can be easily substituted for seasonal variations like roasted pumpkin or winter squash. Similarly, if scallops aren't your thing, feel free to top it with shrimp or chicken.

The whole dish is super simple to prepare and quite addictive. The key is to not overcook the scallops or they will become rubbery and unpleasant. I always stick to a handy method that a Scottish chef, Michael Smith from Three Chimneys, once taught me.

The trick is this: heat a heavy pan (preferably cast iron) over high heat with your cooking fat of choice, then, when hot, add the scallops, and cook until the bottoms brown and the whitening appearance of being cooked starts creeping up the sides. Flip, then let cook for a minute or two more to brown, and remove from the stove to allow the residual heat from the pan finish cooking it.

I swear that since learning this method, I have not overcooked seafood.

Note: The recipe was tested and written using traditional scallop-cooking methods, so follow the instructions if you think the idea above is a little too much.

About the Author: Yasmin Fahr is a food lover, writer, and cook. Follow her @yasminfahr for more updates on her eating adventures and discoveries, which will most likely include tomatoes. And probably feta. Happy eating!

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