This simple and incredibly fast dinner is for those warm late summer nights when you want something amazing, but don't have the time or energy to be amazing in the kitchen.
In this recipe, the ingredients do all the work for you. Juicy bay scallops need nothing more than a quick trip in a very hot pan. Dressing them up calls for little more than browning some pancetta (buy the already chopped variety), then mixing in some fresh corn, onions and seasonings.
That's it. It's delicious, refreshing and beautiful enough to serve to company.
And feel free to play with the salsa ingredients. I love corn because this time of year it is sweet and so fresh. But peeled and diced cucumbers, pineapple, even chopped fresh strawberries would be great. And yes, the corn is used raw. It's delicious that way.
Serve this over rice or buttered toast as an open-face sandwich.
BAY SCALLOPS WITH CORN AND PANCETTA SALSA
Start to finish: 15 minutes
2 ounces chopped pancetta (often sold in 4-ounce packages)
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon jarred jalapeno slices, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 ears fresh corn, husks removed
Salt and ground black pepper
2 pounds bay scallops, patted dry
In a large skillet over medium-high, saute the pancetta until lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a medium bowl. Stir in the onion, jalapenos, lemon juice and cilantro. Remove the corn kernels from the cobs. To do this, stand each ear on its wide end, then saw down the length of the cob with a serrated knife.
Add the corn kernels to the salsa. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
Return the skillet with the pancetta drippings to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the scallops and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, or until cooked through. Season the scallops with salt and pepper, then serve with some of the corn salsa spooned over them.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 360 calories; 70 calories from fat (20 percent of total calories); 8 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 85 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 43 g protein; 3 g fiber; 790 mg sodium.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch or e-mail him at jhirsch(at)ap.org.