I admit it.
There are nights when I want nothing to do with my fridge, stove, oven or any appliance that will assist in the production of a home cooked meal. I figure if I am cooking significantly more than we are “taking out”, then it’s only fair that I throw up the white flag on occasion and ask for a hall pass.
Just because I don’t want to cook; however, doesn’t mean I want to go out for a super gourmet meal either. A restaurant with a nice atmosphere, good food and service is all I ask.
Burtons Grill is a small chain with 10 locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Virginia and South Carolina. Two are in neighboring towns to us and convenient to get to, even at the last minute. The restaurant has a large bar, plenty of seating and a menu that has something for everyone.
This recipe for Pan Seared Scallops with Corn and Bacon was inspired by a dish my husband ordered from the “Lighter Fare” section of Burtons dinner menu (note – not sure they still have this section of the menu any longer). A combination of fresh corn, red pepper, jalapeno pepper and smoky bacon are sauteed in a little bit of butter and serve as the colorful bed for pan seared scallops. The dish at Burtons looked so delicious that I thought it might be easy to duplicate at home.
In my version, I cut the kernals directly off the fresh cobs which results in an al dente texture to the corn, even after sauteing for 10 minutes. I like that, but if you want your corn to be softer, you can blanch the cobs for 2 minutes in boiling water and then cut the kernals off the cob. I also added some scallions for a little hint of onion flavor and some fresh basil.
This dish comes together very quickly and is perfect for a night when you want to eat a little “lighter”. I think it would be a great meal to entertain with as you could make the corn ahead, leave it at room temperature and saute the scallops right before serving. If you do that, it’s best to leave the crispy bacon pieces aside and toss them with the corn at the last minute so they do not get soggy.
For purposes of keeping this a “light” recipe, I’ve allowed 3 large scallops per person, but you can increase that to 5 scallops for bigger appetites.
See? Sometimes leaving the kitchen behind is a way to find inspiration to get you back into it! At least, that’s what I tell myself. Wink, wink.
Raw scallops with the muscle still attached on top…
Now the muscle has been removed and the scallop is ready to be floured…
The trick to good color is to cook the scallops over medium-high heat and to leave them alone in the pan until they are ready to flip (2 minutes). You don’t want to move them around, just sear one side and flip to sear the other side. They are done quickly and can go from succulent to rubber if overcooked! A cast iron pan works really well here.
Finished scallops on their bed of corn and bacon…
Or horizontal? It all tastes the same – delish!
What is your go-to restaurant when you just want a casual meal and a night off from the kitchen? Please let me know in the comments!
- For the corn:
- 6 large ears of corn
- 4 slices of thick cut bacon, sliced into thin strips
- 4 scallions, diced (white and green parts)
- 1 cup diced red pepper (about 1 medium)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup julienned basil leaves
- For the scallops:
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 large sea scallops, muscle removed
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To make the corn, first cut the kernels off the cob using a sharp knife. You will want to stand the corn up inside a deep bowl so the kernels don't scatter everywhere. You should have approximately 4 cups. In a large, preferably cast iron pan, place the bacon. Turn the heat on medium-high and saute the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and most of the oil to a paper towel lined plate. You will want to leave a little bit of the bacon grease in the pan for flavor.
- To the pan, add 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the scallions, red pepper, jalapeno and a sprinkling of salt. Saute for just under a minute before adding all of the corn. Turn the heat to low and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes. The corn will still be al dente. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the basil. Add the cooked bacon back to the corn and mix together just before plating.
- While the corn is sauteing, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in another pan over medium heat. Pat scallops dry and then sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and the flour. Toss to coat and shake off the excess flour while adding the scallops to the hot butter. Allow the scallops to cook for 2 minutes on the first side (do not touch them during this time), flip over and cook another 2 minutes.
- Plate the dish with a generous helping of corn and 3 scallops.
Tips from The Kitchen Scout
A squeeze of lemon on the scallops brightens up all the flavors. Slices of avocado are a nice complement to the dish.