816 North Diversions

March 18, 2014

Eating for life: Pan-seared scallops are elegant but easy to prepare, and good for your heart

Usually reserved for restaurant dining, scallops are an elegant entree.

Usually reserved for restaurant dining, scallops are an elegant entree.

The Star’s Pan-Seared Scallops With Ginger Sauce is a dish fit for company, yet easy to prepare.

About the size of a marshmallow, the bivalve has a mildly sweet, slightly nutty flavor that even those who do not typically like fish usually enjoy. And like fish, scallops are good for your heart.

The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two fish meals per week.

Scallops are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, but an even better source of vitamin B-12, which helps the body convert homosysteine, a chemical that attacks the blood vessel walls, into a benign substance. Four ounces of scallops equals 33 percent of the daily value of B-12, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods, a non-profit health organization at whfoods.org.

Scallops are also a good source of magnesium, which helps the blood vessels relax, and a good source of potassium, a nutrient that helps maintain normal blood pressure.

If you’ve only tasted scallops breaded and fried, you’re in for a real treat. For a lovely mottled brown sear, the scallops must cook for several minutes per side; resist the urge to flip too soon. Serve immediately; overcooking will turn this delicacy tough and fibrous.

Shopping tip:

Scallops are extremely perishable so they are usually frozen immediately after they are caught. For this dish, buy large sea scallops (about 10 to 20 a pound), not tiny 1/2 -inch bay scallops which are better added to a dish. Sustainably harvested diver scallops are usually larger and more expensive.

Cooking tip: The sauce can be made in advance.

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