Usually reserved for restaurant dining, scallops can make an elegant entree. 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 all 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 equal 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.
Pan-seared scallops with ginger sauce
Recipe key: Easy, Fast, Healthy
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
For a lovely mottled brown sear, the scallops must cook several minutes per side; resist the urge to flip too soon. Serve immediately; overcooking will turn this delicacy tough and fibrous. The sauce can be made in advance.
1 carrot, peeled, quartered
1 shallot, quartered
1 (2-inch) piece ginger root, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, halved
1 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound sea scallops
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1. Combine carrot, shallot, ginger, garlic, broth and wine in a medium saucepan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat 12 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Strain; discard vegetables and reserve liquid.
2. Pat scallops dry with paper towel. Heat oil in non-stick skillet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray over medium-high heat. Place scallops in single layer in skillet; cook until golden brown on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn scallops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook 2 minutes or until second side is lightly golden; reduce heat to low.
3. Pour reserved liquid over scallops. Simmer 1 minute, or until scallops are done, stirring up any browned particles into sauce and spooning sauce over scallops. Arrange scallops in deep platter; spoon sauce over. Sprinkle with chives.
Per serving: 164 calories, 26% of calories from fat, 4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 37 mg cholesterol, 6 g carbohydrates, 22 g protein, 286 mg sodium, 1 g fiber