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Spicy Scallops with Beans and Greens

This Mediterranean-style recipe comes to us from Matt Wright, who as he says, is “an English bloke” now living in the Pacific Northwest where he pursues his passion to cook, photograph, and write about simple, clean food. 

Matt especially loves to prepare beautiful seafood dishes, and you can check them out, along with Matt's other delicious recipes, at his WrightFood blog.

As he writes, today's recipe from Matt “is a modification from one in the excellent Italian Two Easy, by the lasses behind the London Rive Cafe.”

“I chose to cook the beans with some herbs, to give them slightly more flavor, and added a potato and tomato to the beans whilst cooking to stop them from splitting. Oh, and they use arugula for this dish, but I prefer frisée.” 

Spicy Scallops with Beans and Greens
By Matt Wright
1 lb sea scallops – about 6 large ones
1 small head of frisée (or one bunch of arugula)
Juice 1 lemon
2 big handfuls of dried beans (cranberry or great northern)
1 red chili
Salt and pepper
Small bunch of thyme and parsley
1 tomato
1 small starchy potato

Start the day before – soak the beans in a lot of cold water overnight. About 1 hour before needing to serve, drain the beans. Put them in a large pot of water, along with the thyme, parsley, potato and tomato. Bring to the boil. Simmer for about 40 minutes – or until the beans are just tender (cooking time depends on the beans you are using – great northern is about 40 minutes).
Prepare the scallops. Pat them dry with paper towel, and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Scorch the chili over a gas [or electric] burner, until the skin is blistering.
Wash and coarsely chop the frisée. Finely slice the chili, removing the seeds if you wish.
Make a quick dressing for the beans – put almost all of the lemon juice in a bowl, and add in 3 times its volume of olive oil. Whisk to combine.
When the beans are done, drain them and discard the potato, tomato and herbs.
Get a heavy bottomed sauté pan hot. I like to use stainless steel here, but feel free to use a good non-stick pan too. Add olive oil to the pan. When nearly smoking, add in a few scallops. Sear for no more than one minute, then flip them. Cook for another minute. Remove scallops from the pan, and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining scallops. Remove the scallops from the pan, and add in the remaining lemon juice and sliced chili. Shake this around for 30 seconds.
Toss the frisée with the beans. Season with a little salt and pepper. Pour over some of the dressing and toss. Taste the beans and frisée. Add more dressing if required. I always add dressing in stages – you can add more, but never take some out if you add too much.
Divide the greens and beans between two plates. Pour over the pan juices and chili. Top with the scallops. Get “stuck in” [enjoy] immediately.
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