A leafy green foundation is a backdrop for seared sea scallops, seasonal pears, and toasted candied pecans to make this delicious winter salad meal. Add a finishing touch of aged Parmesan or Asiago cheese with Cranberry Poppyseed Vinaigrette for a simple, tasteful dish to make any day a cherished holiday!
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and brown sugar in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the pecan halves and toss to coat. Cook for 2-minutes, stirring often. Transfer the pecans to the prepared sheet pan. Separate pecans so they do not touch each other. Set aside to cool.
To make the Seared Scallops
Remove the small muscle from the side of the scallops if still attached. Rinse in cold water, drain well and pat the scallops completely dry using a paper towel. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter on a large cast-iron skillet over high heat
Using high heat, preheat the cast-iron skillet and oil until it starts to shimmer (just before it begins to smoke). As soon as it’s there, add your scallops, and reduce the heat to medium to medium-high heat (300°F to 375°F). Without moving the scallops, sear them until they are golden-browned and crisp, about 1 ½-2 minutes on each side. Resist the urge to move the scallops around or look underneath as the crust develops. When they are ready to turn, they will gently release from the pan. If the scallops are sticking to the pan, give them a little longer to produce a flavorful golden-brown crust.
To assemble the Salad
Arrange lettuce and sliced pears onto four dinner plates. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of the Cranberry Poppyseed Vinaigrette over the top of the lettuce and pears on each plate.
Serve the salad topped with the seared scallops and candied pecans .
FOOTNOTES: For an added flavor dimension, feel free to garnish your salad. We love these possibilities: