Keto Dinner | Seared Scallops With Bacon Zucchini Noodles

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The absolute most perfect date night meal – Seared Scallops with Bacon Zucchini Noodles. It’s a little bit of fancy with a huge amount of flavor and so super easy to cook up. You and your sweetheart will go ga-ga over this healthy, cozy meal! 

Believe it or not, this was my first time cooking up sea scallops. I’ve enjoyed them out many times. In fact, they’re one of my favorite things to order when I’m dining in a fancier seafood restaurant. Even when purchasing frozen scallops, they are a little pricier than other seafood options. I also have heard that they can go from raw to overcooked in a matter of minutes. I was a little intimidated to say the least.

I don’t know about you, but when I see these miniature scallops, I think of pasta. I swapped my old foodie flame for zucchini noodles, made with my trusty spiralizer! If you haven’t bought one yet, I really recommend you do. They make food fun and open up even more super simple grain free recipe options. Seriously, you should get one! In this zucchini noodle dish, the scallops are so sweet that they pair beautifully with the natural saltiness of bacon, so I kept things really simple. The best thing about these zucchini noodles is that you don’t need to make a separate sauce. By cooking them in bacon fat and then adding the squeeze of fresh lemon juice, they have all the flavor they need. So don’t be tempted to leave out the lemon juice – it really makes the dish!

I don’t tend to cook scallops very often because they are usually very expensive. I also used to find them terribly intimidating because I was terrified of over cooking them – perhaps BECAUSE they’re usually so expensive! For both of those reasons, I wouldn’t normally buy these super teeny tiny “petite” scallops. But when I found these wild caught mini scallops on sale for half price, I figured now was the time to go for it! And you know what? You really don’t need to be intimidated at all!

Seared Scallops with Bacon Zucchini Noodles

Prep Time:10 Mins
Cook Time:10 Mins
Total Time:20 Mins

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley , chopped (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 slices bacon (Whole30 compliant, as needed)
  • 4 zucchinis made into noodles (about 1 zucchini per person)*
  • 1 large lemon , juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 pound jumbo sea scallops (I bought frozen from Trader Joe's and they were delish!)

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Instructions

  1. First, Place a large, heavy skillet (cast iron will be best for searing scallops) over medium heat, add bacon and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or until cooked to your preference. Remove bacon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Crumble after cool.
  2. Second, Leave bacon fat in the skillet and remove skillet from heat (for about 2-3 mins.) to cool slightly. 
  3. Next, Right before cooking, season scallops with salt & pepper. Do it any sooner, and the salt will draw out their moisture, making them wet again, and thus preventing that caramelization.
  4. Gently, add scallops one at a time to heated skillet. Add about 1 tablespoon butter or ghee to pan, if needed. My pan had enough bacon fat and I did not have to do this. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan - you may have to work in batches.
  5. Scallops cook quickly and if they're overcooked, they will become rubbery. Once they are deeply golden brown, with a caramelized exterior, and after a few minutes (2-3), flip them only once when they’re nicely browned. Once browned on both sides, remove them to a plate.
  6. Add zucchini noodles to the same skillet and season with salt & pepper. Let zucchini noodles cook for about 1 minute, flipping and stirring frequently. As zucchini noodles cook, add in the lemon juice and zest. Also, toss in tomatoes and crumbled bacon; continue to cook for about 2-3 more minutes.
  7. Divide zucchini noodles onto four plates, top with scallops and garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Enjoy!


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