It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea that any meal worth eating has to be terribly complicated and require lots of cooking and impossible technique. Not true! Even a scallop recipe as beautiful as this one can be an incredibly simple no-cook appetizer. This idea that complicated cooking is the only way to have great food is probably the single biggest misconception that causes so many potentially awesome foodies to miss out on how amazingly easy and fun making food at home can be.
What a massive loss!
Food doesn't need to be cooked to be amazing. Click To Tweet
It doesn’t matter if you “can’t cook” or don’t know how to use the tools and equipment. If you can find a few amazing ingredients, you can let them do the work for you.
Food doesn’t need to be cooked to be amazing. Great ingredients don’t need dozens of complicated steps and a suite of intricate machinery to impress. Great ingredients can stand on their own. There is simply no reason that everybody out there who has the ability to buy, grow, or forage amazing ingredients can’t put together meals that absolutely stun. Honestly, it’s usually the simplest techniques that really impress people: the most complicated piece of equipment that I used here for this scallop recipe was a coffee grinder, but any time you throw together an appetizer or meal with a little dust or powder, you have an automatic hit!
If you can find a few amazing ingredients, you can let them do the work for you. Click To Tweet
This little scallop recipe is a perfect example of exactly this idea. Gentle, velvety, and bright, these flavors work beautifully together and require an incredibly small amount of effort. If you can find the highest quality scallops for this scallop recipe, you can leave them raw, simply letting them sit for a few minutes in a quick citrus and olive oil marinade. If you can’t find scallops like this, feel free to cook or steam them and then squeeze a little juice and olive oil over them, letting them rest while you prepare the rest of this dish. If you aren’t comfortable slicing the avocado thinly, go ahead and dice it up! Your scallops will be just as happy on a pile of diced avocado!
Wondering about the greens and the flower here? Nasturtiums! A plant that you can easily grow right at home. We have these gorgeous nasturtiums taking off in our backyard, so I’m using them in every dish I make. If you have sunlight, warmth, and a little space to grow, you can easily have nasturtiums on hand. They grow well both in beds and in pots, and they start really well from seeds if you don’t have access to starts.
If you simply don’t have access to nasturtiums, you can definitely substitute any gentle green in this scallop recipe. Mache or baby arugula would be a couple of my first choices, any kind of cress would be a fun and peppery addition to this dish, and you could even tear up some butter lettuce if the stores near you don’t have anything good. You could, if you wanted, substitute a few sprigs of cilantro for a bright and different flavor! This plate also used less than 1/16th of an avocado, and about two teaspoons of olive oil, so you don’t need to have large quantities of anything on hand for this simple appetizer. The key to this dish is the quality of your ingredients, not the quantity!
The blueberry flavor in this scallop recipe comes from the blueberry dust that I used a while back with the panna cotta. It’s ridiculously simple! Just grab some freeze-dried blueberries (Whole Foods, Amazon, and many other stores and markets carry them) and grind them up in a spice grinder or coffee grinder! Once they’re powder, you can sprinkle them on any plate or dish for a quick and intense blueberry flavor. Want to create a space in the center of your plate with nice, clean edges? You can dust the blueberries around a lid or bowl to create a shape. Though I didn’t do that for this dish, I included a picture below of how to do that if that’s something you want to try. After you dust around the lid, carefully lift it up for a nice clean space in which to build the rest of your dish.
Perfectly Simple Scallops with Nasturtium, Avocado, and Blueberry
- 1 scallop per person, sushi-grade, cleaned well
- ½ avocado
- 2 Tbs freeze-dried blueberries (makes extra)
- 1 tsp olive oil, high quality (Arbequina is really good here)
- Nasturtium leaves and flowers (feel free to substitute another soft, mild green)
- Good quality large flake salt, like Maldon
- 1 Tbs orange juice
- 1 Tbs grapefruit juice
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- pinch of: salt, pepper, and aleppo (feel free to substitute smoked paprika)
- Mix together the ingredients for the marinade, add scallops and toss gently to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Thinly slice the avocado and, if you want, cut the edges to square them off. Place on the plate.
- Drain the scallop, pat dry, Place on the avocado. Place nasturtiums on and around the scallop and avocado. Drizzle olive oil over and sprinkle with Maldon salt.
- Sprinkle the plate with a small amount of the blueberry dust, serve, and enjoy!
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