There are a lot of simple foods I’m happy to eat, but I wouldn’t want to serve them to guests. This vegetable, quinoa, and scallop dish is the opposite; I was excited to make it for a friend last weekend. It’s more complicated than most of my recipes, but none of the steps are difficult.
The major flavors in this sauce are BBQ (hoisin), sesame, and ginger. Hoisin sauce has some dangerously spiced ingredients, but the key is to use a small amount. At 2 teaspoons for 4 portions, it isn’t going to bother anyone. In contrast, a Chinese restaurant would include gobs of sauce in this dish. I prefer my way because the flavor is there, but you can feel the texture of each component.
Scallops are easy to make and so delicious—they taste like sugar! But they get rubbery if you let them sit or try to reheat them. If you’re cooking for 2, make only half a portion of the scallops. The rest of the meal makes great leftovers even without the seafood.
- 4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets and 1-inch stem pieces
- cooking spray
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- scant 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 16 sea scallops (3/4 to 1 lb)
- 4 heads baby bok choy, washed and separated
- sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and add cooking spray. Arrange broccoli and carrots in a single layer on the sheet; coat with cooking spray. Cook at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, stirring once.
- Put rinsed quinoa, chicken broth, and water in a nonstick pot with lid. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, mix honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and ginger. Set aside.
- Rinse scallops under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove the tough muscle piece if present.
- Make sure bok choy leaves are completely dry. Spray a glass baking pan with cooking spray, add bok choy leaves, and spray the tops with cooking spray. Add sea salt to taste.
- When 10 minutes are left for the carrots and broccoli, add the bok choy to the oven. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until leaves have shrunk and edges are browned.
- Preheat a large nonstick skillet on high heat, and add cooking spray.
- Remove broccoli and carrots from the oven and add to bowl with dressing; add quinoa and stir.
- Put scallops one at a time into the hot pan, making sure they do not touch each other. Don’t move a scallop once it is placed, or you won’t get a caramelized crust. Cook for 2 minutes at high heat. Then flip each scallop carefully and cook for 2 more minutes.
- While scallops are cooking, divide bok choy onto 4 dinner plates. Divide quinoa/veggie mixture and place on top.
- When scallops are finished, arrange 4 on each plate and serve immediately.