Scallops and Bacon

I have an exciting announcement to make. Mark’s Daily Apple has two new Worker Bees! And both are primed and ready to bring you delicious Primal recipes every week. So read on and be sure to check back tomorrow for another delectable dish.

I’m guilty.

I once spent a lot of money buying alternative meat products under the impression they were somehow “better” for me. If you’ve done it too, you know that aside from health, there are more important aspects of meat that necessitate buying the real thing. Taste, for example. There’s no taste comparison whatsoever between soy sausage and the real stuff, and really I can’t see how “quorn” quite cuts it for anybody.

What I missed most while eating faux-meat, though, aside from the taste and the lack of unpronounceable ingredients in real meat, was scallops and bacon. It speaks to their Primal goodness, perhaps, that so far the salty, smoky flavor and texture of real bacon and the tender succulence of scallops have not been perfectly replicated in a soybean laboratory and sold on organic food shelves as the preferable choice. (I know there’s “Smart” Bacon, but have you ever tried the stuff? Ick).

In my view, scallops and bacon are already perfect, and you can’t reproduce perfection. But you can combine and multiply it, and this recipe is proof.

What I love about sea scallops is that cooking them always intimates summer. Even on a cold autumn day in rural New York, searing scallops at the stove reminds me of the ocean, a warm breeze blowing through the open windows of the beach house, a glass of Prosecco in hand. And the joy of cooking scallops can be easily shared, too. After 3 minutes on medium heat, the soft fleshy caps have never failed to evoke a resounding “mmm” in my kitchen, as they melt in multiple mouths.

The scallop is a humble but succulent mollusk; self-sufficient but amiable to other foods. And though recipes often call for pairing it with a grain or bread, a little bacon and a bright, steamed vegetable are better. They complement, rather than distract from the meat’s natural flavor. Add a little fresh tarragon and a quick squeeze of fresh lime juice to the pan, and this simple scallop dish is as good as Primal gets.

To make Scallops and Bacon, you need:

  • 1 oz. uncured, nitrate-free bacon
  • 5 fresh sea scallops
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Slice bacon crosswise into thin pieces, cooking on a medium-high skillet until crisp but not dry. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel or dish.

In a small bowl, add 1 tbsp olive oil and a few squeezes of fresh lime juice. Coat scallops in the oil, adding salt and pepper to taste. Sear scallops on skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until opaque and glossy. Transfer to a separate plate.

Over medium heat (in the same skillet), add a few squeezes of fresh lime juice and begin to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of water and tarragon to the skillet, then bacon, followed by the scallops. Give the skillet a nice little swirl to blend juices. Cook 30 seconds to 1 minute to allow flavors to combine.

Serve the scallops on plates with bacon and a sprig of leftover fresh tarragon.

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47 thoughts on “Scallops and Bacon”

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  1. Wonderful post-I used to eat all that faux meat when I was a young veggie & didn’t realized it was processed glop (somehow I bought that line that processed soy was ok for you). I’m reformed (yay) and will try this recipe next week while I vaca at the beach. I’m bringing along my laptop (can’t miss a day of the Daily Apple) & the PB book to share w/ curious pals (who can’t concieve of giving up grains but are at least willing to read why).
    It would be great if we know which Worker Bee you are- surely you must have a name 😉 So thanks,____, for this post, looking forward to more!

  2. Sounds delicious (the scallops and bacon, not the soy sausage). Wonder if this recipe would work with squid. Bacon calamari?

  3. Thanks for this recipe, Mark! I love scallops and I love bacon! The only problem is that I have a sensitivity to scallops. However, it’s mild and I’m hopeful that it will clear up over time. If and when it does, I look forward to trying this recipe! 🙂

    Soy sausage? Yuck! Aside from how disgusting that sounds, soy is bad news!

  4. So excited for all the new great recipes! I attempt to try each one of them and have loved all of them so far! When is that recipe book coming out…???

  5. Sea scallops are a clean, sustainable source of omega-3s. Farm-raised bay scallops are not as healthy, and they’re smaller, so you can’t bite into them like their larger wild-caught cousins.

  6. Mmm I love the flavor combination of bacon and scallops. I usually make them by wrapping raw sea scallops in a slice of bacon each and then broiling them in butter. This does add dairy, but a different oil would work as well.

  7. I choose veggie bacon/sausage because I worry about studies that link red meat to cancer, like this one. Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand 🙂

    “A recent 10-year study, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), found that people who ate red meat every day were a third more likely to develop colon cancer than those who didn’t. The culprits could be two compounds called hemoglobin and myoglobin, which are found in all red meat. Researchers theorize that the compounds react with chemicals in the gut to create cancer-causing agents.”

    1. I thought pork was the “other white meat”?? 😉 Also, I always thought that it wasn’t the meat that was causing the problems but the nitrates that often go w/ bacon/sausage/cured products that is a KNOWN carcinogen & always has been. But I could be wrong. It happens.

    2. The problem with most of these types of studies is we don’t know what factors are self-selecting. I’m going to guess that your typical red meat eater also is overweight, takes in vast amounts of grains and HFCS, and quite a few smoke. Probably less exercise than those who are tuned into their health, like most vegetarians.

      Another angle is, OK, let’s just agree cancer goes up. It’s catchable, treatable. What of the obesity that probably many of these individuals have? How about their overall lifestyle? Since colon cancer is statistically small in the overall population, even a third increase is not huge.

      You might find this interesting: Seems likely that you have more chance of dying because of a colonoscopy than cancer. Oh, that common wisdom!

    3. I wouldn’t put much stock in Especially when they don’t cite any data.

      A quick search pulled up this meta-analysis of animal fat/protein intake on colorectal cancer:

      They used data from six different studies and found that “the available epidemiologic evidence does not appear to support an independent association between animal fat intake or animal protein intake and colorectal cancer.”

      Do you have a link to the actual study referenced in the AskMen article?

    4. I think that the colon cancer is really from not getting enough dietary fiber to properly digest and then dispose of all the red meat these people were eating.

    5. Without a link to the actual study, statements like this from the media are worse than worthless, I’m afraid.

      If you’re more science-minded with a subscription to PubMed, then you might have something.

      Science is complicated, and more often than not, journalists get it wrong, or they tend to publish the hypothesis independent from the actual study results.

      Never, ever believe a news article regarding a medical study.

  8. The simpler the food the greater , this is an excellent example.

    Thanks a lot for sharing. It is great, specially now with the heat, it is much appreciated such a short cooking time. I love the photo.

  9. I love scallops and I love bacon, together they are bliss. I wrap my scallops in streaky bacon and bbq them in summer, delish!!

    1. I still have two dishes on hold , in Blog Purgatory, not sure of their fate yet. So, we are on the same wegelanvth I’ve got a serious problem with brown food brownies, chocolate cakes, ice creams, or beef stews. There must be a trick to making brown food look appetizing in photos, I just have no clue of what it is!

  10. Can’t beat bacon in anything and with scallops- a match made for taste buds.
    If I may add:
    Keep the bacon and try adding some Andouille Sausage to the mix- the similiar shape and size to the scallops makes for an interesting sight for the eyes as well as a treat for the palate.
    maybe served on a bed of greens.

  11. Awesome, I just brought scalops and bacon last week and was going to scour the web for a decent receipe, thanks!

  12. You should pump out a lot of recipes, and then put them together into a Primal Cookbook. I would buy it, despite it being free online, to have it physically available in my kitchen. =)

  13. Alex, I’ve got one in the works and it will include all-new recipes. I can’t yet give an ETA but a PB Cookbook will come to everyone sooner or later. Thanks for your comment, interest and support!

  14. Would you recommend any replacement herb for tarragon. I just don’t like the taste of it, but the recipe looks great!

  15. Scallops: The marine canary in the coal mine.

    Just a side note about scallops. Years ago a coworker told me about how he and other kids would gather scallops from the shallows off of City Island here in Sarasota for family outings. My reaction was incredulousness, no such things by the late sixties.

    The years go by and laws are enacted – and enforced – that cut down pollution going in the the bay. Sewage, fertilizer runoff, boat pollution. The waters are cleaner than in (literally)sixty years. The seagrasses are abundant again, and guess what else is showing up?

    Yeah, those tasty little buggers. We who care about our marine environmnet are ecstatic.

  16. wow this sounds too delicoius to pass!!
    =D thanks for the super recipe!

  17. Made this that very night. YUM! I didn’t have tarragon or lime, though, so I substituted fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon and YEAH! Thanks for the great recipe!

  18. Dammit I want some RIGHT NOW!!!

    Once I mistakenly bought frozen scallops which had the consistency of rubber tires from a toy car, and much the same flavour, so be warned and get real fresh ones.

    Do you know Angels On Horseback? An oyster wrapped in streaky bacon and grilled, pinned together with a couple of toothpicks and stood on a piece of toast? Without the toast that’d be pretty primal.

    Dammit now I want them too. All I have is peppered mackerel, toasted almonds and samphire. Oh well that’ll do in a pinch

  19. I made this tonight with Brussels sprouts, sliced turkey bacon and added a bit of balsamic vinegar in place of the lime. Whole Foods has frozen-packed scallops that are absolutely delicious! Packed with protein and 6 oz (a whole bunch of ’em) is still only around 150 calories. Thanks Mark! (This is my first post – but I am super hooked on the research, advice and encouragement you so generously provide on your site. Again, thank you!)

  20. Bacon and Scallops – MUST try. Sounds really yummy.

    I’m new to the Primal way. Very overweight and Type 2 diabetic – doc said I needed a gastric band as I am now insulin resistant – having to take too much insulin – sugars in the 16’s and upwards.

    Since starting the Primal way – 9 days ago – my sugar’s are in single figures and I’ve already lost a kilo – something the docs couldn’t do.

    I’m on the Grok way for life thanks to my partner who found it.

    Thank you

  21. What does the fiddle fern plant look like? The recipe sounds delish!!

  22. Just made this today using fresh scallops from the local farmer’s market, right at the beach here in Redondo; this was simple, quick, delicious and I love how Omega-3 rich it is!