Quinoa Pilaf with Seared Scallops
Make whole grains the center of your dinner plate with this citrus-studded quinoa pilaf recipe topped with sweet seared sea scallops. Be sure to buy “dry” sea scallops (scallops that have not been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate, or STP). Scallops treated with STP (“wet” scallops) are higher in sodium, have a mushy texture and do not brown properly.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 scallions, sliced, greens and whites separated
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 2 medium blood oranges or navel oranges
- ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds, divided
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander, divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pound dry sea scallops
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add scallion whites; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add quinoa; cook, stirring until toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice ends off oranges. With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith; discard. Working over a large bowl, cut the orange segments from their surrounding membranes. Squeeze juice from the membranes into the bowl before discarding them, if desired. Add the scallion greens, almonds, cilantro, ½ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon coriander and salt to the bowl; gently stir to combine.
- Pat scallops dry and sprinkle both sides with the remaining ½ teaspoon cumin and ¼ teaspoon coriander. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (To prevent overcooking, transfer the scallops to a plate as soon as they are done.)
- Add the quinoa to the bowl with the orange mixture and gently stir to combine. Serve the scallops over the warm quinoa salad.
MAKE AHEAD TIPS
- For the best flavor, toast nuts and seeds before using in a recipe. To toast seeds, sliced or chopped nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. To toast whole nuts, spread in a single layer in a small baking pan and bake in a 350°F oven until golden and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring the nuts or shaking the pan once. Transfer to a small bowl or plate to cool. (When toasting hazelnuts, rub the nuts with a clean kitchen towel as soon as they come out of the oven to remove as much of the papery skin as possible.)