fat free opinions on a food centric life

Warm Scallop Salad with Bacon Croutons & Garlic Chili Oil

Warm Scallop Salad with Bacon Croutons & Chili Garlic Oil

I spent so much time on the Daring Baker challenge for May a couple of days ago, that dinner planning just never came into play.  Go figure.  So my husband sweetly suggested that he’d run down to pick up some Mexican food from our favorite little hole-in-the-wall that makes gigantic California burritos.  Of course, that meant I’d succumb to their carnitas plate. I do know that this is always, without fail, a big, fat mistake.

Focus in on the “big” and “fat.”

I just can’t resist slopping all that tasty pork, and salsa, and rice, and guacamole onto those fresh, warm tortillas with their incredible hot sauce.  And I can’t stop at one.  I eat two.  And then I can’t move.  Well, this time, I was miserable. I had to drown my failed Daring Baker challenge sorrows. Definitely a bad combination expecting food to make me feel better.  That’s what I get.

I just don’t eat that kind of food much anymore and so shouldn’t be surprised I could barely make it up the stairs to bed that night.

Needless to say, salad was — and still is — on my agenda.  I feel so much better after I’ve had a meal that is only salad, it’s incredible.  The key is to put all the right things into the salad so my taste buds and stomach are satisfied.  This becomes a bit challenging for my husband, however, because he all but licks his plate, and then last night, I caught him practically licking the pan.  You’ll see.

I’m not sure what to call this salad, but the idea comes in part from Jamie Oliver’s Warm Bread Salad of Crispy Pancetta, Parmesan and Poached Egg.  Plus, I have a flyer from Whole Foods I picked up one day with a great recipe for Garlic Shrimp Tapas which we really like.  To complicate things a bit more, my husband chose scallops instead of shrimp, so I had to do all kinds of crazy hopping around to end up with what we believe is an excellent salad.  My son doesn’t care for scallops, so I hooked him up with an andouille sausage instead.


Warm Scallop Salad with Garlic Chili Oil and Bacon Croutons

(serves 2-3)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment.

Salad Ingredients

3-4 c. baby romaine
1/4 c. crumbled Feta


  1. In a large shallow bowl that the salad can be both displayed in and then mixed before serving, place the greens.  Set aside until the Bacon Croutons and Warm Scallop Topping are finished.
  2. After, scoop warm scallop mixture out of the pan and onto the salad greens.  Sprinkle bacon over, and add croutons.
  3. Pour lemony oil from the scallop mixture over the salad.
  4. Sprinkle with feta and toss before serving.  Serve warm.

Crouton Ingredients

4 1/2″ slices French bread
3 slices bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 c. extra virgin olive oil


  1. Slice French bread into quarters, or a size to your liking.  Arrange pieces in three rows on the baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, mix garlic and olive oil to mix flavors.  Sprinkle mixture over the bread pieces.
  3. Arrange each of the bacon pieces over the rows of bread pieces.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes until bacon begins to crisp and curl, and pieces of bread begin to lightly brown.  Remove from oven
  5. Remove bacon from the croutons and tear into bite sized pieces.  Set aside.

Scallop Topping Ingredients

1 T. extra virgin olive oil
21 bay scallops, well dried
2 sprigs fresh oregano — about 1 T.
4 lemon slices
2 red jalapenos, roasted
3 cloves garlic, sliced
6 T. extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Roast jalapenos over open flame or under broiler until skin is black.  When done, let rest for a bit, then remove skin and top.  Cut into even slices.
  2. Remove leaves from oregano stems and chop lightly.
  3. Put jalapenos, oregano, garlic, and lemon slices in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. In another small bowl, whisk 6 T. olive oil w/the juice of 1/2 lemon to combine and set aside.
  5. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large skillet and add scallops all at once.
  6. Let scallops sit without stirring a minute or two until they begin to lightly brown.  Then give them a stir.
  7. Add small bowl of peppers, oregano, garlic, and lemon slices and saute with the scallops for about a minute.
  8. Add the lemon juice and olive oil mixture to the scallops and briefly saute.  Remove from heat.

Warm Scallop Salad

Recipe Notes: 

  • The red jalapenos had a bit more heat than I expected.  Usually they are extremely mild.  I chose them instead of the green variety because I wanted some color and didn’t want to go with tomatoes on this warm salad.
  • Although flavorwise, this hit the spot, I did catch the MoH heating the fry pan up again to carmelize the remnants with some of my wine.  He said he was cleaning it — with MY WINE!  Right.  Vinegar or lemon juice could get that job done.  Instead,  he ripped off another hunk of French bread and  slurped up the sauce from the pan.
  • Next time, I’ll make enough sauce to serve along side the salad, and leave the “croutons” for dipping.
  • Not exactly slimming, but not horribly fattening either.