Bay Scallops with Corn and Pancetta Salsa
Photo: Matthew Mead / AP

I personally think we have the Best bay scallops around. They are so succulent, juicy and in abundance from Pensacola to Apalachicola, the areas where I spend the majority of my time. Sadly, I have not gone scalloping yet, but I have plans to take my family this month. The season in Florida runs June 25 to September 25, here is a link so you can go too!

This simple and incredibly fast dinner is for those warm late summer nights when you want something divine, but don’t have the time or energy to be heating up 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, then mixing in some fresh corn, onions and seasonings.

It’s delicious, refreshing and beautiful enough to serve to company.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces pancetta. chopped  (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

Preparation:

  1. 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.
  2. Add the corn kernels to the salsa. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
  3. 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.

Note:
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, heirloom tomatoes, even chopped fresh mango would be great. And yes, the corn is used raw. It’s delicious that way.

May also serve over rice or buttered toast as an open-face sandwich.

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