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Scallops al Ajillo
Gambas al ajillo, or shrimp with garlic, is a popular Spanish tapa. For a new take on the classic, we swapped sweet, buttery sea scallops for the shrimp and created a portion generous enough to be served as a light main course. Look for U15 sea scallops—the sizing indicates there are fewer than 15 scallops per pound. Slightly larger or smaller ones will work, too. Just as importantly, seek out “dry” sea scallops, ones that have not been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate. If purchasing frozen, check the ingredients label; at the seafood counter, make sure the scallops are not sitting in a pool of liquid, or ask. Another tell is color: dry scallops have a pale coral hue, whereas treated scallops are stark white. Serve with a simple salad of bitter greens to round out the meal.
pounds dry sea scallops (see headnote), side tendons removed
01Pat the scallops dry with paper towels, then place them on a paper towel–lined plate. Season them all over with salt; set aside. In a 10-inch skillet, combine the oil and garlic. Set the pan over medium-high and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown at the edges, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a small bowl; set the garlic aside.
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