We seldom find ourselves at home alone, but with our daughter travelling to Cape Canaveral for the launch of NASA’s Curiosity Rover to Mars (lucky girl!), we decided to enjoy a date night. At home. When you live 45 minutes to an hour from the nearest fine dining establishment, date night at home is very appealing. Tonight, we celebrated the harvest of the first ripe Meyer lemon from our young tree, the perfect accompaniment to fresh Florida seafood.
To me, the Meyer lemon is the queen of lemons. With its smooth gorgeous skin and luscious scent, it beckons from the low branches of the beautiful tree. Meyer lemons are thought to be a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange, which accounts for its lighter, sweeter flavor and plentiful juice. They are wonderful for cooking and for making lemonade and cocktails. Fortunately, they are also easy to grow, as long as they are protected from frost, especially in their early years. A popular backyard crop along the Gulf Coast, you may find out more about growing Meyer lemons (and purchase a tree!) from our friend, Brandy, at Just Fruits and Exotics in nearby Medart.
First, I surprised my husband with one of his favorite dishes, pan-seared scallops. The delicate sea scallops are dipped in freshly-squeezed Meyer lemon juice, rolled in panko breadcrumbs and quickly seared in butter and olive oil. Finished with just a sprinkle of freshly-grated parmesan, the crispy, sweet, buttery scallops don’t need another thing. I served them atop a bed of baby lettuces, also very lightly dressed in olive oil, Meyer lemon juice, parmesan, and salt and pepper. Divine and so pretty!
Pan-Seared Scallops with Meyer Lemon
- 1 lb fresh sea scallops
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 Meyer lemon
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Baby lettuces
Dip each scallop in freshly-squeezed Meyer lemon juice, reserving a few wedges of lemon for garnish.
Roll scallops in Panko breadcrumbs.
Melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; stir and heat until hot.
Add scallops, turning once, until browned and lightly crusted on both sides (3-4 minutes); remove from heat. Don’t overcook! The scallops should be very tender and just warm in the center.
While still in the pan, sprinkle the scallops with a little parmesan cheese. Cover and let sit for just a minute to allow the cheese to melt.
Dress the baby lettuces in a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and a little Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Serve the warm scallops atop the salad, and enjoy.
I hope you enjoy a date night at home with whatever special delights your local area is harvesting this season!