Down By the Sea

First things first. Please forgive my departure from the world of blogging. Since I started The Cowgirl Gourmet in September 2009, I have rarely missed even a week of posting. So a three-week hiatus is completely unusual. But has been much needed.

Truth is, it's been so damn hot in South Texas (dozens of days of triple digits), we really haven't done much "cooking". Rather we have been subsisting on salads and other raw foods and we have been grazing. None of which allows me to share anything fabulous with you. But, after taking our first real "weekend"off (as in Saturday and Sunday) in four-and-a-half years--we have returned refreshed and ready for action.

Our Labor Day weekend trip to the coast with family reminded us that: Everyone. Needs. To. Get. Away.

We got to relax and unwind with a magnificent sunset.
I woke up on Saturday morning and, like I did when I was a kid, headed to the old town bakery that serves up the same deliciousness that they used to 35-40 years ago, but who's counting? Despite the fact that I did not even eat a bite, I still had to go and check it out. I mean, look at these gorgeous sweet treats--bear claws, lemon filled donuts and cinnamon rolls--oh my!) They were just as I remember them...
We got to put our feet in the sand.
We swam in the ocean.

We chilled.
We goofed off.
And we relaxed with loved ones.
We cooked, too, but I have no proof of that to share with you...I actually tried to "unplug" while I was away!

Upon returning home from the coast, seafood was still on our minds and, fortunately, the scallops at Groomer's were too gorgeous to pass up. We agreed on a grilled scallop salad since we had probably had a little too much food fun over the holiday weekend.

The best part of this recipe? In addition to being healthy, it took less than 20 minutes to put it together. So balanced in flavor and satisfying, it easily could have been something we might have enjoyed in a fabulous restaurant. Whether you've been relaxing on vacation or slugging through the daily grind, I recommend you treat yourself with this grilled scallop salad.

Buen provecho!
Grilled Scallop Salad
The Cowgirl Gourmet

Print recipe

This simple and easy to prepare salad can be served as an entree for 2 people or as a salad for 4 people. It took less than 20 minutes to prepare and we were thoroughly satisfied. Watercress is one of the most nutritiously dense greens, so anytime we can find reason to eat it, we do. The touch of crispy bacon on the top as a garnish really made this salad come to life, while the orange vinaigrette gave lovely citrus notes that played well with the other ingredients.

Serve 2 as entrees or 4 as salads

6-8 large sea scallops, tough mussel removed (6 if entree for 2 people, and 8 if salad for 4 people)
1 bunch watercress, coarsely chopped ( prefer to chop it in half once and that's it)
1/2 bulb fennel, halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced
2-4 pieces applewood smoked bacon, chopped (2 if serving as entree or 4 if serving as a salad)

Maldon salt, for serving

Salad dressing
1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus more for brushing the scallops
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chop the bacon into pieces and fry until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Heat the grill over high heat. Lightly brush the scallops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grilled the scallops until just opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side.

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vinegars and oil. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large salad bowl, add the watercress and fennel and toss with enough of the salad dressing to coat.

Divide the green evenly between two or four plates and top with the appropriate number of grilled scallops. Drizzle with remaining dressing and divide the crispy bacon over each. Season with a bit of Maldon salt and more freshly ground black pepper.

Serve immediately.

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