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Pan-Fried Sea Scallops with Caponata

This luxurious eggplant based relish is a delicious accompaniment to a wide range of meats and fish. Here, the caponata is topped with seared scallops.

Prep Time

    •    Prep and cook time: 40 minutes
    •    Yield: Serves 4-6


     •    1/2 tsp salt
    •    1 pound eggplant
    •    1/4 cups capers in sait
    •    3 tbsps red wine vinegar
    •    2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    •    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    •    1/4 tsp granulated cane sugar
    •    12 sea scallops, about 1 pound
    •    8 basil leaves, roughly chopped
    •    1 large red onion, cut into 1 inch thin pieces
    •    6 celery stalks, peeled and sliced on a diagonal into 1/2 inch pieces
    •    1 large stalks, peeled and sliced on a diagonal into 1/2 inch pieces
    •    1 28 ounce can peeled San Marzano tomatoes - cut into 1 inch pieces, sauce reserved


  1. Peel the eggplant and cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with half of the extra virgin olive oil; add half of the eggplant and season with 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Fry the eggplant cubes in two batches until golden brown, adding the second addition of olive oil and salt with the second batch. Remove from the oil and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, add the celery, red onion, garlic and capers and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium to low heat until vegetables have softened and look glossy, about 10 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and sugar to the pan and stir to combine. Fold in the cooked eggplant and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring every 4 minutes. Add the vinegar to the mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Season the scallops with salt and pepper, add to a skillet and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the scallops, and continue cooking for another 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and serve with the caponata. Garnish with chopped basil and serve.

This great family recipe is thanks to FOOD & WINE at


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