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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