“I don’t think there’s anything terribly exciting about grilled scallops,” chef Anne Burrell writes in her cookbook, Cook Like a Rock Star. “But I do think you can put them together with interesting ingredients and make them exciting.”
Burrell, star of Chef Wanted on Food Network, does just that with this dish, which uses multiple portions of a watermelon, plus dandelion greens. Her tip for success? Make your pickles a few days in advance and keep them in the fridge.
Grilled Sea Scallops with Watermelon
• 1 lb. wedge watermelon
• 1 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp. sugar
• 2 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
• pinch of crushed red pepper
• 8 large sea scallops
• 2 to 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
• 1 watermelon radish (about the sixe of a kiwi), peeled and julienned
• 1 cup dandelion greens, cut into ½-in.-wide ribbons
• ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
1. Carefully cut the rind off the watermelon. Using a mandolin or a sharp vegetable peeler, shave the rind into wide ribbons about ½-in. thick. In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and red pepper. Add the watermelon rind ribbons and let stand at room temperature for at least an hour.
2. Meanwhile, dice the watermelon flesh into ½-in. pieces and reserve.
3. When the watermelon pickles are done, heat the grill.
4. Brush the scallops with olive oil and season with salt. Place on the grill and cook until grill marks appear, about 1 minute, then rotate the scallops 90 degrees and let the grill marks develop in the other direction (what you’re going for here are crosshatch grill marks). Turn the scallops over and repeat; the scallops are done when they’re no longer translucent, about 2 minutes each side.
5. While the scallops cook, drain the rind pickles, reserving their liquid. Toss the reserved watermelon, the rind pickles, watermelon radish, dandelion greens and red onion together in a large bowl. Dress the salad with 2 tbsp. of the pickling liquid and some olive oil. Taste, and adjust seasonings and dressing if needed.
6. Arrange the dressed salad in a tall pile just off the center of the four salad plates. Cut the scallops equatorially (through the middle, like the equator) and lay the disks slightly overlapping, grill side up, on the salad. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Adapted from Cook Like a Rock Star by Anne Burrell, Clarkson Potter, 2011.