Seared Scallops with Crispy Proscuitto with Roasted Tomatoes and Smashed White Beans

I took a liking to Jamie Oliver from his very first “The Naked Chef” show.  Endlessly upbeat, Oliver keeps the food front and center and never lets you forget that great cooking is a) not magic, and b) a source of great fun and satisfaction.

Over the years, he, and his cooking, have matured greatly. Where once, seemingly all of his recipes started with “you take a pound of bacon”, he’s now leading the effort to bring truly healthy, delicious foods to those who need it most, school-age kids.

Last weekend, I prepared dinner for 4 women, members of  “gourmet club”. They wanted seafood as their entrée, scallops specifically. And all are diabetic.  This gem of Oliver’s fit the bill perfectly.

Serves 4

4 large ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
salt and pepper
1 pinched dried oregano
extra virgin olive oil
8 slices proscuitto
1 small garlic clove, sliced very thin
1 small dried red chili pepper, crumbled*
4 anchovies, chopped small
1, 14oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
12 large sea scallops, cleaned, trimmed, tied off if you prefer
1 small bunch arugula, or peppery greens
2T fresh lemon juice
5T olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450F. Season the tomatoes, sprinkle with oregano. Drizzle with olive oil and roast, skin side down, for about 10-15 minutes. Place the proscuitto slices beside the tomatoes, continue to roast for another 10 minutes until the tomatoes are juicy and the proscuitto is crisp. Crumble the proscuitto and set aside.

ScallopsIn a fry pan over medium heat, add the garlic, chili pepper, anchovies and a good “glug” of olive oil, then cook for about one minute, stirring and breaking up the anchovies. Add the beans, cook for a few minutes, then add a wineglass of water to the pan. Bring to a boil, then lightly mash the beans to a coarse paste. Loosen this with a bit more water if needed. Finish off with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.

Pat dry and season the scallops, then sear in a hot skillet with a bit of olive oil for 2 minutes without touching. You’re looking for a sweetly caramelized skin. Turn, repeat. Remove to a boil, dress lightly with the lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste.

To plate, start with a “layer” of smashed bean puree, scatter over the tomatoes, proscuitto and scallops then finish with a sprinkling of greens.

* take care adding too much of this…it’s very easy for the chilies to overpower the flavor of the beans.

Calories: 420, Satfat: 1.67g, Carbs: 23.65, Fiber: 1.51

Recipe: Jamie Oliver, “The Naked Chef Takes Off”
Photograph, courtesy

Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, specializing in cooking for diabetics, living and working on Phoenix, AZ. (c) All Rights Reserved, 2013

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