One of my favorite chefs of Italian cuisine is Mario Batali who is one of the most recognized and respected chefs worldwide. He owns over 25 restaurants across United States and has published many excellent cookbooks. I was fortunate enough to dine at some of Batali’s restaurants in NYC and they were all exquisite. Del Posto is my very favorite! From food to service to atmosphere. Just superb! The cookbooks Batali published contain great recipes but they are also rich in great advice as to what kind of olive oil to use, what type of salt, what type of tomatoes are the best etc. Some of my favorite Batali’s cookbooks are, “The Babbo Cookbook” (contains many of the people’s favorite dishes from his famous Babbo restaurant in NYC), “Molto Batali Simple Family Meals From My Home to Yours” and “Italian Grill”.
Most of Batali’s recipes are simple and foolproof. The food really does come out great every time!
I love to eat scallops but I am always skeptical to make them at home. So easy to over cook them! And quite frankly, even if I don’t overcook them, they don’t have much taste. When I saw the recipe below I decided to give it a try because it seemed really simple and I just loved all the ingredients: basil, tomatoes, lemon…
This recipe can be very versatile and it is very forgiving (even if your ingredient measurements are not the same, still comes out good!). The scallops can be replaced with any fish or seafood of your choice and it will be just as good. Try shrimp, any white fish fillets or even squid.
Sea Scallops Alla Caprese (adapted from Mario Batali “Italian Grill”)
2 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes
One bunch of fresh basil leaves (I buy the one that comes in a bag from Whole Foods, usually stored right by tomatoes)
3 medium red onions (I used yellow)
5 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
20 Sea Scallops (about 2 ounces each)
Sea salt & Pepper
1 lemon, cut in half
Note: Amounts of salt, pepper and olive oil depends on your taste, so use your own judgment.
Cut the tomatoes in halves (bigger ones in quarters) , add chopped basil leaves over the tomatoes and toss with some salt and pepper. Set aside.
Slice the onions in thick circles and season them on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill them on the grill or skillet (any cast iron skillet will do) for about 10 minutes (flip them only once, grill on one side most of the time). Transfer to a plate and let cool, then separate the onion slices into smaller rings and scatter them over the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and toss.
Wash the scallops and pat them dry with the paper towel. Make small checkerboard like cuts on each scallop and season with salt and pepper and toss with some olive oil.
Place the scallops on the grill or skillet, design side down, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, unmoved, until almost cooked. You will know they are cooked when the color changes to opaque white. Flip them over and sear for just 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.
As a final step, arrange the scallops over the prepared tomatoes salad, drizzle olive oil and squeeze some lemon on top.
I served this dish over brown rice but it can be eaten just as is as well.