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Prosciutto-wrapped Sea Scallops with Sautéed Swiss Chard

Pan-seared sea scallops wrapped in prosciutto with hearty chard is possibly the most impressive 30-minute meal ever!

Miso-Brown Butter Sea Scallops with Lemongrass Coconut Curry Sauce

Seared sea scallops are quick and easy, even when wrapped in prosciutto. There is nothing to it, really, other than following the procedure and targeting the desired results: procuring "dry" scallops so that you can get that picture-perfect sear, making prosciutto slices that are no wider than the scallops are tall, and heating the pan well so that it is truly hot before you sear the scallops to get that golden brown crust. The Swiss chard is the simplest sauté in the world, so much so that you can easily swap it for kale or spinach. The scallops are the star!

Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; paring knife; paper towels; measuring spoons; large nonstick sauté pan; wooden spoon; large sauté pan; tongs

Ingredients for the Swiss chard:

1 bunch Swiss chard (red or rainbow)

3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced

3 scallions, trimmed and minced (white and light green parts only)

2 tablespoons olive oil

kosher salt freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the sea scallops:

½ pound "dry" sea scallops, approximately 10-12

4 slices prosciutto

2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

kosher salt freshly ground black pepper

ILOC tip: if you can, procure "dry scallops" - scallops that have not been treated at sea with a water/sodium solution. They caramelize and sear so much more beautifully than "wet scallops," the ubiquitous white scallops you usually see at the store. But if wet scallops are all you can get, be sure to pat them bone-dry before you cook them. Not sure? Ask the purveyor...they will know what they are selling.

1. First prepare the Swiss chard. Separate the leaves from the stalks, reserving all of the leaves and just four of the stalks. Stack half the leaves and roll crosswise. Cut into ¼-inch chiffonade. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Cut the stalks into 1/8-inch thick slices. Set aside.

2. Slice the prosciutto slices into thirds lengthwise to yield strips that are the width that is the approximate height of the scallops. Set aside.

3. Pat the scallops dry using paper towels. Roll each scallop in a strip of prosciutto. Sprinkle the tops of the wrapped scallops generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

4. Place a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the Swiss chard, garlic, and scallions to the pan and mix well. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lower the pan to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the chard is wilted and tender, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

5. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot add the vegetable oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the wrapped sea scallops, seasoned side down, in a circle around the perimeter of the pan without crowding or adding any to the center. Season the tops of the scallops with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, undisturbed without moving them, to achieve a golden brown surface without overcooking.

ILOC tip: only the presentation side of the scallop needs to be beautifully seared. Do not turn the scallops until they achieve that desired color. If it takes 3 or more minutes, then you need only cook them for a minute once turned. Target the result more than the timing. It's all about technique, not torture!

6. Divide the sautéed Swiss chard amongst the centers of two plates. Place five or six scallops around the perimeter of each plate. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

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