Jamie Oliver is one of the first chefs who really, really inspired me. The type of food that he cooks, the ingredients he uses, and his easy no-nonsense methods come together to produce artful, creative, and delicious dishes. I can vouch for the delicious part because I've tried a number of his recipes and I've yet to be disappointed. In fact, if the measure of a good recipe can be defined by how tattered, worn, and smattered with stains it is, then Jamie Oliver's Seared Scallops and Crispy Proscuitto with Roasted Tomatoes and Smashed White Beans is one killer recipe! Page 160 in his book The Naked Chef Takes Off has been used so many times that it practically falls open there without prompting!
The flavors of this dish are fantastic: the salty, nutty, slightly spicy bean mash, the sweet roasted tomatoes with oregano, the crispy salty proscuitto, succulent scallops with zingy lemon dressing, and the cool peppery arugula leaves. In addition to the fantastic flavor experience, this dish offers a range of textures that make each bite unique and satisfying.
This is a restaurant caliber meal that is really not very difficult to pull together. The only thing that requires attention is coordinating the several steps that need to be prepared simultaneously and then pulling them all together to be plated up.
Seared Scallops and Crispy Proscuitto with Roasted Tomatoes and Smashed White Beans from Jamie Oliver's The Naked Chef Takes Off
- 4 Large ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a pinch of dried oregano
- olive oil
- 8 slices of proscuitto
- 1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1-2 small dried red chillies, crumble to taste (I use red pepper flakes because that's what I usually have on hand – just a pinch works well to add heat)
- 4-6 anchovy fillets, chopped (this is a crucial ingredient – even if you're not an anchovy fan you must include them because it adds the most incredible nutty, salty flavor)
- 1 14 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained
- extra virgin olive oil
- 12-16 scallops (take off the muscle – also make sure they are dry to allow for caramelization when they are seared)
- 1 olive oil and lemon dressing – (this recipe is located in another section of the cookbook – I'll add it below)
- 1 small handful of arugula
1) Preheat oven to 475F. Season the tomatoes (salt/pepper) and sprinkle with oregano – drizzle with some olive oil and roast in the oven skin side down for about 10-15 minutes. Place the proscuitto slices beside the tomatoes and roast for another 10 minutes so that the tomatoes are juicy and the proscuitto crispy.
2) In a pan fry the garlic in olive oil with chillies and anchovies for a minute or so then add the drained beans and cook all together for a few minutes before adding a wineglass full of water. Bring this to a boil and then using a wide spoon to mash it into a coarse puree. Finish the flavor off with some peppery extra virgin olive oil – taste it and add salt/pepper if necessary.
3) Season the scallops (salt/pepper) and then sear them in a frying pan with a touch of olive oil for 2 minutes without touching them. Check to see if they've developed a golden, caramelized crust – if so then turn over and allow the other side to cook. Be careful not to overcook. Remove the scallops to a bowl and drizzle with the lemon dressing (recipe below).
4) To plate this dish begin with the bean mash, then scatter the tomatoes, proscuitto, and scallops. Finish by adding the arugula.
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste