Sea scallops with mashed sweet potatoes, crispy pancetta, balsamic vinegar and sage
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• 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled
• 3-4 Tbs butter
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4-ounce diced pancetta (see hints below)
• 1/2 small onion, peeled and finely diced
• 1-2 Tbs finely chopped fresh sage
• approx. 3 - 4 Tbs balsamic vinegar (see hints below)
• 2-3 Tbs olive oil
• 12-16 large sea scallops (dry packed "no water added" if possible)
• salt and pepper for seasoning scallops
1. For 4 servings, peel and cube 2 medium sweet potatoes and get those going in a pot of water on the stovetop.
2. Once that's going along, add 4-ounces diced pancetta to a large nonstick pan on the stovetop stir and cook that for 2-3 minutes.
3. Then add 1/2 small, finely diced onion and cook that along to soften up as the pancetta continues to crisp up.
4. Once the pancetta has crisped up (and the onions are soft), add a generous 1 Tbs of finely chopped fresh sage, cook that along for a minute and then take everything out of the pan.
5. Keep your eye on the sweet potatoes and, when they're nice and soft, drain them really well, add a little butter and salt and pepper to the pot, mash them up and put a lid on top to help keep them warm.
6. Once the sweet potatoes are good to go, turn the heat to medium high underneath the nonstick pan, add a little splash of olive oil and cook the sea scallops on both flat sides until both sides are nicely caramelized.
7. Once the scallops are almost cooked to your liking, add the pancetta back to the pan, add a little splash of balsamic vinegar, add a splash of olive oil if you think it needs it and, once everything has warmed through, it's time to eat.
HINTS: Pancetta is basically Italian style unsmoked bacon and you could substitute regular bacon if you wanted to. For a nice visual and flavorful touch, add a pinch of brown sugar, a tiny bit of olive oil and a crack of black pepper to a few Tbs of balsamic vinegar and spoon a bit around each finished dish.