It’s no secret that one of my favorite places in the world is Hipcooks. I’ve written about them many a time, and am happy to say that I have recreated multiple dishes they taught me, but I think this one is my favorite. To ward off the initial scrunchy face syndrome, Hipcooks wisely calls the sauce for this dish “Salsa d’Acciughe e Rosamarino”, which has a lovely ring to it, rather than what it actually is: garlic, rosemary, lemon and anchovy sauce. No matter what, it’s delicious, so wipe that scrunch off your face, make this up and enjoy the hell out of it!
Scallops with Salsa d’Acciughe e Rosamarino
Adopted from Hipcooks recipe
Ingredients (serves up to 4)
- 8 Sea scallops
- 1 package prosciutto
- rosemary stems
- 10 Anchovy fillets (if using salt-packed anchovies, rinse first)
- 2-3 cloves Garlic, peeled
- Zest of 2 Lemons, juice of 1 lemon (to taste)
- 4 tablespoons Rosemary leaves
- ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbs olive oil, divided
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1½ cups water
- ½ cup diced onions
- ½ diced red pepper
- curly kale
- kosher salt to taste
- juice of ½ lemon
While there are quite a few ingredients in this recipe, the whole thing comes together pretty quickly. Fast, delicious and relatively easy to make an impressive dinner. Thankfully, quite a bit of this dish can be prepared ahead of time, such as the quinoa, wrapping the scallops, and even the sauce (though it’s better if you make it just before serving).
I’m still working hard to be as efficient as possible in the kitchen (doesn’t always happen, but let’s focus on the best intentions here), so I recommend starting with the part that takes the longest to prepare, in this case, the quinoa. Over low heat, place 1 tbs of olive oil into a pan, and let warm before adding in onions and peppers. Stir these aromatics frequently until the onions start to become translucent. Add in the quinoa for about 1 min, stirring frequently, then slowly pour in the water. Cover and cook for the prescribed time on the packaging (usually about 30 minutes). Once the moisture is absorbed, turn off the heat and fluff with a fork to give the quinoa the airy texture we all know and love. Set aside and let cool.
As the quinoa is cooking, you can get started on the scallops and dressing. Take the prosciutto and wrap each strip around one scallop. A visually pleasing alternative to a wood skewer is using a rosemary stem. Strip all the rosemary off the stem except the very top and use them as skewers. Refrigerate the skewers until you’re ready to cook them, for up to a day in advance.
Now it’s time for the amazing sauce. Use a food processor (SO much easier than using a blender, trust me) to emulsify all of the anchovy fillets. To this, add the garlic, the zest of both lemons and the rosemary. Whiz until very well chopped, and then drizzle in the olive oil, slowly. Hipcooks recommends adding the lemon juice of at least one lemon at this point and then tasting, but I prefer to be a little more conservative. If you love lemon, dive on in, but I add about quarter of the lemon juice, taste, then add more juice, garlic or rosemary to find the right balance.
Word to the wise: this sauce always tastes super salty to me at this point, but I promise you it’s important to have a little extra salty flavor for the scallops and kale.
Time to prep the kale! Strip the leaves from the stem, add to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Massage the kale until the dressing in well distributed, then toss in the now cool quinoa.
To finish the meal, let’s get searing those scallops. Scallops do not take long to cook, a few minutes per side is plenty. Remove them from heat just when the scallops are transitioning from translucent to opaque. They will continue to cook after they are off the burner, so don’t wait for them to be opaque before turning off the heat.
Place the salad on the plate, decorate with the scallop skewers and drizzle with the Salsa d’Acciughe e Rosamarino, throw a spattering of lemon zest on top for color, and your dinner is ready to serve!