"Scallops are a difficult dish to master and I think this is why they are such a popular dish at great restaurants. I first learned how to make them at Parker’s Restaurant in Ohio City, and then later during an internship in Paris. In Paris, at Le Violon D’Ingres, we would get huge bags of scallops daily, still in the shell. Cleaning the scallops was a lot of work, but buying them this way is the freshest version you can get. We had one dish where we roasted them in a shell with butter and a sliver of whole truffle. When my wife and I opened South Market Bistro in Wooster, we put scallops on the menu right away and they became a signature dish. For me, a great scallop dish is the mark of a talented chef. We served them with wilted greens and a bacon-onion cream sauce. Having my own restaurant allowed my to pass on the tradition and the art of cooking scallops to young, aspiring chefs who work for me. To prepare this recipe, you have to start with really good quality dry-packed scallops. They should be plump and smell fresh and salty. Keep them dry and season them at the last minute. The pan should be just the right high heat to get the proper sear. Serve them after just a short rest. Although they require some extra attention, they are worth all the trouble and have remained one of my favorite dishes to prepare." -Chef Mike Mariola
8 to 12 fresh dry pack scallops (size 10-20 or U10)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion, sliced
4 slices bacon
4 leaves Swiss chard
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup Smith's heavy cream
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Heat a heavy-bottom stainless frying pan to high. Add oil and butter to the pan.
Season scallops with salt and pepper. Just as the butter begins to brown, add the scallops. Keep the temperature as high as possible without burning the butter.
After 45-60 seconds, test to see if the scallops can be turned. Allow scallops to release themselves from the pan. Turn and cook on second side for 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Turn heat down to medium and add bacon and onion. Cook over medium heat until bacon is cooked and onions are caramelized. Add Swiss chard and cook for 1 more minute. Deglaze with white wine. Reduce and add heavy cream.
Reduce to desired thickness and check seasoning. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh thyme.