Seared Scallops with Watercress and Warm Orange Dressing

This is a nice combination of peppery leafy greens, sweet pineapple, seared tender sea scallops with a warm orange vinaigrette. Can be served as a small plate or appetizer or as a main course with three large scallops per person. If made with ordinary oranges in place of blood oranges, the dressing will be a golden orange instead of red.
From Raising the Salad Bar, Catherine Walthers, Lake Isle Press, NY, 2007, p 115.
Total Time1 hr
Course: 45 - 60 Minutes to Table, Appetizers, Main Course - Seafood, Salads - Main Course, Side Dishes - Salads
Servings: 2
Author: Catherine Christiano


  • 1 large bunch watercress 1 - 1 1/2 cups per person
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus additional to brush on scallops
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon light vinegar Champagne, rice, Moscatel
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple 1/2 - 3/4" diced
  • 2 radishes trimmed and very thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pound sea scallops 3 large scallops per person, membranes removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 lemon wedges

Warm Orange Dressing

  • 1/2 cup blood orange, tangerine, or orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon light vinegar Champagne, rice, Moscatel
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or pinch of sugar


  • Remove any thick stems from watercress and roughly chop. Place in medium bowl, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Place on serving platter or individual plates. Top with pineapple and radishes.
  • Brush scallops with a light coating of olive oil to prevent sticking. Heat heavy skillet, large enough for scallops, over medium-high heat; when hot add remaining tablespoon of oil. Sear scallops 2 - 3 minutes on each side to brown but not overcook. Arrange scallops on salad. 
  • In pan used for scallops, add juice, remaining tablespoon of vinegar, and maple syrup. Set on high and bring to boil; cook 3 - 4 minutes until slightly reduced.
  • Grind some fresh pepper and squeeze some lemon juice over the salad. Drizzle warm orange dressing over and around scallops. Serve while scallops are still hot.


Other salad greens can be substituted for watercress. Try brushing scallops with oil, they stick to pan.