8 & $20 Recipe: Seared Scallops and Sweet Corn Salad with a Chardonnay

Toast the end of summer with a fresh, colorful dinner that you can make in less than 20 minutes
Sep 13, 2011

Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

Not to get all “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” here, but in the northern hemisphere at least, the race is on to use the last and best of the summer produce. This simple salad of sweet raw corn, cherry tomatoes and radishes makes a great complement to anything off the grill during these last few warm nights outside, and it works equally well for a quick weeknight dinner with seared scallops, as detailed in the recipe below. A bonus: It all comes together just about as quickly as you can chop up the veggies. Make the salad first to give the ingredients time to integrate, then sear the scallops right before serving.

For the wine, we tried a bunch of whites. A Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon turned sweet-ish with the corn. A Viognier from Chile that was loud in the glass fared better with the bright flavors in the food. A basic Burgundy was terrific—a strong body for the scallops and a citrusy component that locked in with the salad components—but the one we had on hand registered a whoops on the price tag! In that vein, a less-expensive unoaked Chardonnay from California makes a reasonable substitution, or you could try similar wines from other regions such as Chile.

Seared Scallops with Sweet Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad


Pair with an unoaked Chardonnay such as Morgan Chardonnay Monterey Metallico Unoaked 2009 (91 points, $20)


Total Time: 20 minutes

Approximate Food Cost: $34

  • 4 ears fresh sweet corn, husked
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 radishes, sliced thinly
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 pound diver scallops (approx. 3 to 4 per serving)

1. Cut the kernels of corn off the cob with a sharp knife. Mix the raw corn with the halved cherry tomatoes, red onion and radish in a large bowl. Whisk the olive oil and lemon together in a small bowl, then drizzle over the corn mixture, season with salt to taste and toss to coat.

2. Heat two tablespoons of cooking oil in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, such as a cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper, then add them to the pan and cook until done, around 2 minutes a side. Remove from the pan and divide among four plates, and serve the salad on the side. Serves 4.

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