Making a meal out of a salad is one my favorite ways to eat. I’m always trying to incorporate more fresh vegetables and fruits into my every day diet. While I’m at it, I enjoy putting together a mix of things that engage hunger and invite all senses to linger, preferably along with a glass of wine…that’s what I’m talking about.

And by salad I definitely do not mean it to be an afterthought, like a pile of plain salad greens with dressing (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Salad for dinner shouldn’t feel like deprivation; it’s visually enticing as well as hearty enough to serve as a full meal, composed of vibrantly colorful ingredients and some kind of warm protein for a delicious – and beautiful – contrast.

Summer is a great time to start a new habit; rearranging the standard meat-and-potatoes plate toward one focused on a greater variety of seasonal produce.

The sea scallops in this recipe could easily be substituted with shrimp or chicken.

Seared Scallop Salad with Mango
By Karen
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt
16 large dry-packed sea scallops
Freshly ground black pepper
3 small, ripe mangoes (such as Ataulfo)
4 tablespoons butter
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 head radicchio, thinly sliced
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
4 scallions, root ends trimmed and chopped

Directions:

Whisk together the lime juice, agave, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Pat the scallops dry with a towel; sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper to taste.

Stand each mango stem side up on a cutting board with the wider sides facing away from you; slice off the two “cheeks” on either side of the stem, cutting close to the pit – you should have 6 pieces (save the remaining mango flesh for another use); peel each piece and slice in half lengthwise.

Heat a heavy skillet, preferably with ridges, over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the pan. Arrange the mango slices in the pan and cook for a few minutes on each side, just until browned. Remove and set aside.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the pan. Once the butter melts and foaming subsides, add the scallops and sear until they’re nicely browned, 2-3 minutes per side. Pour in the lime juice mixture and turn off the heat, swirling to blend the juices.

Arrange some spinach, radicchio and avocado on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 4 scallops and 4 mango slices; drizzle with the pan juices and sprinkle with the scallions.

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