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Video:Scallops with Pancetta and Leeks

with Chef John Mitzewich

The sweet and and savory leeks and pancetta make the perfect bed for the quickly seared scallops. Less is more with this very simple and delicious recipe.See Transcript

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Transcript:Scallops with Pancetta and Leeks

Hello, I'm Chef John Mitzewich for About.com, and today we're making seared scallops with pancetta and leeks.

Prepare the Scallops

I'm going to do this as two appetizers. So I've got six sea scallops, and we're going to remove what's called the "foot." This is a tough square piece of muscle that holds the scallop to the shell. It's really easy to remove, you just peel it off.

Dice and Saute the Pancetta

We also need 1 ounce of pancetta, which is called "Italian bacon." This is not a great definition, since bacon is smoked and pancetta is not. So we're going to dice that up. It's actually more like a prosciutto than bacon.

In a sauté pan on medium, we're going to slowly sauté that in one tablespoon of olive oil.

Wash and Dice the Leeks

While that's happening, we're going to take two leeks. I trimmed those right where the stalks started, and I'm going to make two vertical cuts in the top. And you can see how that lets you separate the leaves.

That lets you wash it thoroughly, since there can be grit and sand in there. So make sure you wash it really thoroughly before you dice it up.

Saute the Leeks

By then the pancetta should be getting close. We want to get that not quite brown and crisp, but almost. We're going to remove it and reserve that oil.

In the pan we're going to add a tablespoon of butter. We're going to throw in the leeks, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. Then we're going to sauté that on medium until it's soft and sweet.

When you check, taste the darker green pieces, which tend to be tougher and more fibrous. When those are soft and sweet, add the pancetta and cook for 2 minutes.

Remove and reserve it covered in foil to keep it warm.

Sear the Scallops

We're going to need the juice of half a lemon. Season your scallops with salt on both sides. In a very hot sauté pan, add 1 teaspoon of the pancetta oil, and we're going to sear the scallops for 3-4 minutes per side on really high heat.

If you don't use high heat, the scallops will just boil and you're not going to get that beautifully caramelized crust. This is super important so don't worry if the pan smokes a little. Cook on super high.

Combine the Butter and Lemon Juice

When those are done, remove and turn off the heat. Add a tbsp of cold butter, the lemon juice and 2 tbsp of cold water. We want to be able to spoon that over, and if you don't add the water it will get to thick.

Serve the Scallops With Leeks and Pancetta

Then we are ready to serve this unbelievably delicious dish. Put your leek and pancetta mixture in on the bottom, top with three of the scallops, a spoon of that lemon butter over the top. It's an unbelievably delicious dish.

You can double this if you want to do an entrée size. This is where the chef just gets out of the way of the ingredients, and they really shine through.

Such a simple preparation, and so delicious. I hope you give it a try. Enjoy. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at food.about.com.
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