Failed kitchen experiments and culinary hacks.

Seared Scallops with Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts

31 Mar 2010

Scallops with Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts

A co-worker asked about what to make for dinner tonight. I replied that I need a few more constraints to make a recommendation, to which she replied that it needed to be quick and preferably possess aphrodisiac qualities. I suggested oysters - requiring zero prep time and besides, what's sexier than an oyster? However, I had to think of an option for someone that didn't own a shucking knife or the skills to use one without losing a finger or two. My cube-mate suggested dispensing with food altogether and just opening up a bottle of booze.

Given those further constraints, I suggest this dish. As for whether or not scallops have any aphrodisiac qualities beyond a mere suggestion -- remember that Aphrodite was carried to Earth in a scallop shell -- I'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out. In the meantime, I was inspired to make the dish that I suggested.

Seared Scallops with Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts

Enough for two servings

  • 6 large scallops
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices pancetta, chopped (about 1.5 - 2 ounces)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  1. Rinse the scallops and pat dry, leaving on a paper towel to drain. You want them to be as dry as possible so that water doesn't leach out during cooking and a proper crust forms.
  2. Heat a pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add pancetta to the pan and cook until it begins to become a bit translucent, about 2 minutes. Add shallots and saute for another 2 minutes. Toss the brussels sprouts in and saute them for 6-7 minutes, until still a bit crunchy to provide some texture.
  3. Using your best timing skills to ensure that the scallops and the brussels sprouts are done at the same time, throw another pan on a high flame with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the tablespoon of butter. Once the fat is nearly smoking, season the scallops with a bit of salt and pepper and add to the pan, taking care not to crowd them. Sear the scallops for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. There should be a nice crust on the outside, while still being a bit translucent in the middle.
  4. Plate the brussels sprouts first and top with the scallops for a lovely presentation and go get lucky.

Brussels Sprouts

La Quercia Pancetta

In the Pan