Assemble a phenomenal salad with Emeril’s Heath Cicerelli

Grilled scallops combine with fresh spinach, Marcona almonds, nectarines and blackberries.
Photo: Beverly Poppe

The Details

MGM Grand, 891-7374.
Mon.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Mon.-Sun., 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sun., 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Chef Heath Cicerelli puts delicious pieces together.

Chef de Cuisine Heath Cicerelli from Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House knows that chefs sometimes take for granted how many tools and ingredients they have at their fingertips, so he’s selected a perfect, simple summer salad to share. Toasted Marcona almonds and spinach are punched up with the flavors of grilled scallops and fresh fruit. (The nectarines can be substituted with peaches.) When you’re shopping for scallops, Cicerelli recommends Whole Foods. “The key to scallops is to make sure they are dry. Pat them down [with paper towels] as if you were going to sear them. If there’s any kind of moisture on them, they won’t cook up right.”

Marcona Almond, Grilled Scallop and Spinach Salad

(Serves 4)


8 U-10 dry pack scallops

1 tbsp. drawn butter

6 cups baby spinach

2 medium ripe nectarines, sliced

1 cup blackberries

1 cup toasted Marcona almonds

1 red onion, sliced thinly

salt and pepper to taste

Buttermilk Dressing:

1 cup sour cream

½ cup buttermilk

2 tbsp. real maple syrup

1 tbsp. maple sherry vinegar

2 tsp. chives, finely chopped

¼ tsp. kosher salt


To make the dressing, whisk the sour cream and buttermilk until smooth, then add syrup, sherry, chives and salt and mix well. Keep cold until ready to serve.

Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat on a gas or wood grill, place half the seasoned scallops to cook for about a minute, then turn 90 degrees and allow to cook for another minute. Brush lightly with butter, turn the scallops over and repeat the process. Scallops should be firm but not rubbery. When finished grilling, chill scallops in the refrigerator.

Mix the salad in small batches to make sure it’s evenly dressed. In a mixing bowl, add 1½ cups spinach, 6 slices of nectarine, 6 blackberries, a pinch of red onion and 2 ounces dressing to lightly coat the spinach. To serve, pile the salad in the center of a shallow bowl, making sure each gets an even amount of fruit. Place two scallops around the salad and garnish with toasted almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup.

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