Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
26 Jun

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.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  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!

    marci wrote on June 26th, 2009
  2. Sounds delicious (the scallops and bacon, not the soy sausage). Wonder if this recipe would work with squid. Bacon calamari?

    Joe C wrote on June 26th, 2009
  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!

    Vin - NaturalBias wrote on June 26th, 2009
  4. I think we’ll be trying that one in the cave-kitchen soon! :-)

    gcb wrote on June 26th, 2009
  5. 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…???

    Jane wrote on June 26th, 2009
  6. 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.

    Sonagi wrote on June 26th, 2009
  7. Sounds yummy!! Thanks! :)

    Yummy wrote on June 26th, 2009
  8. 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.

    Shine wrote on June 26th, 2009
  9. 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.”

    Satfat Skeptic wrote on June 26th, 2009
    • 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.

      Ann wrote on June 26th, 2009
    • 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!

      OnTheBayou wrote on June 26th, 2009
    • 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?

      erik.cisler wrote on June 26th, 2009
    • I think I found it:

      It looks like their idea of “red meat” included both fresh, real meat and processed stuff. That’s a joke.

      It’d ditch the fake food and eat real stuff we’ve been eating for millions of years.

      erik.cisler wrote on June 26th, 2009
    • 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.

      Sara wrote on June 26th, 2009
    • 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.

      Susan wrote on June 26th, 2009
  10. 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.

    thania1 wrote on June 26th, 2009
  11. I love scallops and I love bacon, together they are bliss. I wrap my scallops in streaky bacon and bbq them in summer, delish!!

    Dollface wrote on June 26th, 2009
  12. You had me at BACON. Everything tastes better with bacon.

    (AKA FoodRenegade)

    FoodRenegade wrote on June 26th, 2009
    • 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!

      Ravi wrote on December 6th, 2012
  13. 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.

    pjnoir wrote on June 26th, 2009
  14. Awesome, I just brought scalops and bacon last week and was going to scour the web for a decent receipe, thanks!

    Pricey wrote on June 26th, 2009
  15. 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. =)

    Alex Shalman wrote on June 26th, 2009
  16. 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!

    Mark Sisson wrote on June 26th, 2009
  17. Would you recommend any replacement herb for tarragon. I just don’t like the taste of it, but the recipe looks great!

    cindyu wrote on June 26th, 2009
  18. 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.

    OnTheBayou wrote on June 26th, 2009
  19. Tbh that bacon in the picture looks a bit dry :)

    Steven wrote on June 27th, 2009
  20. This looks delicious! I’ll have to fix it some night next week :)

    Melissa wrote on June 27th, 2009
  21. wow this sounds too delicoius to pass!!
    =D thanks for the super recipe!

    riceball wrote on June 28th, 2009
  22. Just finished making this. So easy and the kitchen smells so good!

    Bryce wrote on June 28th, 2009
  23. 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!

    Shelley wrote on June 30th, 2009
  24. This was really awesome and flavorful. Highly recommended!

    mrd232 wrote on July 1st, 2009
  25. 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

    Trinkwasser wrote on July 6th, 2009
  26. 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!)

    Meg wrote on January 6th, 2010
  27. 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

    Mandy wrote on July 21st, 2010
  28. What does the fiddle fern plant look like? The recipe sounds delish!!

    Ginny Welch wrote on January 2nd, 2011
  29. Couldn’t you just cook the scallops in the bacon fat?

    Mamachibi wrote on March 29th, 2012
  30. 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!

    Sara B wrote on January 9th, 2014

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