Scallops: so meaty and delicious and yet so easy to overcook. That’s why we sear these on only one side, preserving the meltingly tender, near-raw texture on the other end.
- 2 small red chiles (such as Fresno or Holland), seeds removed, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons finely grated grapefruit zest
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 12 large sea scallops, side muscle removed, patted dry
- 1 small fennel bulb, quartered through root end, thinly sliced lengthwise, plus ⅓ cup fennel fronds
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
- Olive oil (for drizzling)
Using the side of a chef’s knife, mash chiles, grapefruit zest, and ¼ tsp. salt to a paste on a cutting board. Set chile paste aside.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over high until lightly smoking. Season scallops with salt; working in 2 batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, cook until edges begin to brown, about 1 minute. Transfer scallops to a platter, browned side up, and swipe some reserved chile paste on each.
Toss fennel bulb with vinegar in a medium bowl to coat; season with salt.
Pour grapefruit juice over scallops and top with fennel salad and fennel fronds; drizzle with olive oil.