When Bobby and I visit his dad and stepmom in Washington D.C., we love to make extravagant meals to thank them for all their generosity in hosting us! It’s an absolute treat to cook in a beautiful, well-stocked, “adult” kitchen, and a shameless excuse to shop at our two favorite markets: Bethesda Coop and Wagshal’s. Wagshal’s is a charming and cozy market with a a beautiful selection of seafood and meat. We can always count on the fishmonger to be incredibly excited about what we’re buying, and eager to share a recipe. We listen intently, nodding our heads and wagging our tails, and dutifully retrieve whatever extra ingredients he recommends. We can’t take an ounce of credit for this gorgeous recipe, but my oh my, was this an easy gourmet dish!

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Scallops with Crispy Pancetta and Avocado-Wasabi Creme

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados
  • 2 teaspoons Wasabi Powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, minced
  • 15 Scallops
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • a pinch of salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mash the avocados into a puree. Mix in the wasabi powder, lemon juice, salt and pepper. (For a creamier consistency, you can blend the ingredients). Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
  2. In a large skillet or sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the minced pancetta and saute until it becomes crispy. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the pancetta to a separate plate. Do not rinse the pan.
  3. How to cook scallops: rinse your scallops thoroughly and pat them dry with paper towel. Return the pan with the pancetta fat to a stovetop on medium-high heat, and heat the pan until quite hot. Place half the scallops in the pan in an uncrowded layer. Let them sear undisturbed until one side is browned and crisp, about 2-4 minutes. You can lift a scallop to see when it is browned. (The scallops will naturally foam a bit). Using tongs, flip the scallops and sear the other side for 2-4 minutes and until the scallops are almost firm to the touch. Remove the scallops to a separate plate and keep them warm with foil or a cover. Repeat with the remaining scallops.
  4. Add the white wine to the pan and scrape the bottom of the pan, mixing the pancetta and scallop remains with the wine to create a delicious sauce. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Return the scallops to the pan and warm them in the pancetta-wine sauce for 2-4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  6. To serve, spread two tablespoons of avocado-wasabi cream on a plate. Place the scallops on top. Sprinkle the scallops with crispy pancetta.
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