Seared Scallops With Cured Tomatoes Recipe

An Italian seafood dish from Toronto chef Mark McEwan. "The finest, freshest scallops have an assertive sweetness to them that finds a compelling counterpoint in this bracingly flavoured sauce. It combines the richness of cured tomato, the saltiness of anchovy, the bite of mustard, and the acidity of vinegar. And better yet, it can be prepared in minutes."


3 oz. Italian speck, diced*
3 oz. double-smoked bacon, diced
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
5 shallots, very thinly sliced
10 anchovy fillets (preferably salt-packed), rinsed, drained, and chopped
1/4 cup oven-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp grainy mustard
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
12 large sea scallops
3 tbsp butter

1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp crispy-fried capers (optional; see below)

Crispy-Fried Capers
1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup rinsed and drained capers

* You may use more smoked bacon in place of the speck.


Step 1: Sweat the speck and bacon in half the grapeseed oil until it begins to crisp. Remove the speck and bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the shallots to the pan and sweat until wilted. Transfer the shallots and cooking oil to the bowl. Add the anchovies, tomatoes, remaining grapeseed oil, red wine vinegar, and mustard; stir well. Season lightly, cover, and set aside on the counter overnight.

Step 2: Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. (Use two skillets if necessary to avoid crowding and thus steaming the scallops.) Add the olive oil. Pat the scallops dry and season them with salt and pepper. Sear until well bronzed on one side, about 3 minutes. Add the butter, turn the scallops, and cook for another 5-6 minutes for medium (or to desired doneness). Remove the scallops from the pan and let rest on 4 warm plates. Pour the fat from the skillet, wipe with a paper towel, and add the speck and anchovy sauce. Stir until thoroughly heated through, adjust seasonings, and then spoon over the scallops. Garnish with a scattering of parsley and, if desired, fried capers (see below).

Crispy-Fried Capers

Step 1: In a small skillet, heat the oil until it is nearly smoking. Pat the capers dry with a paper towel, and — standing well back — add them to the hot oil. As they puff up and crisp in the heat, remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Reprinted with permission from Mark McEwan’s Fabbrica (2011 Penguin Group Canada).

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