Scallop Salad with Arugula, Fennel, and Dolcelatte Dressing
Scallops with a gorgonzola dressing might seem like a bit of a stretch for a seafood and cheese pairing, but when used sparingly gorgonzola dolce can be quite the magic ingredient, adding a savory depth with a sweet-salty balance as well as creamy texture to the dressing for pan-seared scallops. The combination is the brainchild of Skye Gyngell, the chef at Petersham Nurseries in London and the author of My Favorite Ingredients, from which this recipe was adapted. Dolcelatte is a specific brand of gorgonzola that’s marketed when it’s young, but if it’s not available, use gorgonzola dolce.
THE DRESSING: Put the egg yolk, Dolcelatte, mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice in a blender. Add a pinch of salt and a little pepper. Turn on the motor and very slowly pour in the olive oil. You should finish with a smooth, light sauce. Pour it into a bowl and combine with the crème fraîche. Adjust seasonings, if needed. Set aside.
THE SCALLOP SALAD: Trim the tough muscle from the side of each scallop. Set the scallops aside at room temperature. Gently wash the radicchio leaves and arugula, and pat dry with a towel. Remove the stalks and fibrous outer layer of the fennel, slice it in half lengthwise, then cut it into the thinnest long slices possible. Put the radicchio and arugula leaves and the fennel in a large bowl. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, then add the lemon zest, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and the lemon juice. Toss together lightly, taste for seasonings, and set aside.
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. When the oil is very hot and starting to smoke, add the scallops in a single layer. Cook without moving for 1 minute, then turn and cook 40 seconds on the other side. The scallops should have a crunchy exterior and a sweet, soft interior. Remove from the heat.
Divide the dressed leaves and fennel among individual plates; arrange five scallops on top of each, and spoon a little Dolcelatte dressing on top. Finish with a sprinkling of minced parsley and toasted bread crumbs. Serve immediately—the scallops should be as hot as possible.
Note: To make toasted sourdough bread crumbs, put chunks of sourdough bread in a food processor and pulse to get rough crumbs. Tip into a bowl, and season with salt, pepper, and a good splash of olive oil. Scatter on a baking sheet and toast in a 400ºF oven for 12 to 15 minutes, shaking the baking sheet frequently to be sure the crumbs toast evenly. They should be golden and crunchy.