Smaller and sweeter than their seafaring cousins, Nantucket Bay scallops are prized for their tender, velvety texture and refined flavor, which means they require little culinary intervention. Butter, oil, salt and pepper, a hot pan, and the following recipe from Oceana chef Ben Pollinger are all you really need to do the succulent mini-mollusks justice.
Ben Pollinger’s Nantucket Bay Scallops With Caramelized Figs
8 Kadota or Black Mission figs
2 tbs. sugar
5 tbs. vegetable oil
1 cup arugula
1 pound Nantucket Bay scallops (at Citarella)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbs. butter
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
(1) Wash figs, remove stems, and halve lengthwise. Dip cut side lightly in sugar and set aside. Heat a heavy 10-inch skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, so the surface is lightly coated. Cook figs cut side down until lightly caramelized. (2) Flip figs and cook for an additional 30 seconds, remove from pan, and reserve. Toss arugula with olive oil and reserve. Season scallops lightly with salt and pepper. Wipe sugar residue from skillet and place over medium-high heat, adding remaining 4 tablespoons vegetable oil plus butter and swirling the skillet until the butter melts and begins to brown. (3) Add scallops and cook for 1 to 3 minutes (until opaque), constantly swirling the pan so that the scallops are rolling around. Remove scallops to a paper-towel-lined plate. Divide arugula among plates, then scatter scallops and figs among the greens. Serves 4.