Holiday Recipe: Seared Scallops With Orzo Salad

The Raleigh Times Bar Chef Primo Zinani, 28, lives with his wife, McKenzie, and daughter, Capri, in Raleigh. His recipe, Seared Scallops With Orzo Salad, is a savory and sweet meal his mom used to make during the holidays. When he was young. Zinani’s family used to get all the ingredients fresh from each vendor — even the scallops, which were from a fish market in Boston. “The dish is pretty much saying, ‘I’m used for formal occasions, but I’m here to party.'”

Seared Scallops

10 scallops cleaned (pick the connective tissue off)
1 tablespoon Old Bay
¼ tablespoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons butter, unsalted

Dry scallops with a paper towel.

Mix all seasonings in a separate bowl. Once mixed, dust scallops generously.

Heat a sauté pan to medium heat and add butter.

Once butter is melted add 1 tbsp olive oil (to prevent smoke).

Add scallops one at a time and sear hard on both sides, about 30 seconds each side or until dark brown.

Once seared, set aside.

Orzo salad

2 cups orzo, uncooked
2 cups chicken stock

Heat a medium-size pan to medium heat.

Add dry pasta and toast until golden brown.

Once brown, add chicken stock, occasionally stirring until liquid has absorbed.

Once absorbed, remove from heat and cool on a sheet pan.


¼ ounces fresh tarragon
¼ ounces fresh sage
1 tablespoon fresh chervil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon scallions
1 cup Champagne vinegar
3 cups extra virgin olive oil

Chiffonade all herbs (ribbon cut or chop fine).

Toast garlic in a sauté pan until golden brown.

Once toasted, turn off heat and add herbs. Then add vinegar and whisk in oil slowly.


¼ cup artichoke heart, rough chop
¼ cup fennel, diced
2 ounces goat cheese, par frozen and crumbled
½ cup hazelnuts, toasted
1 red bell pepper, Julienned
1 ear corn, roasted in oven until golden brown

Once orzo has cooled, place in a mixing bowl and add vegetables, goat cheese and hazelnuts. Then fold in dressing. Season to taste with kosher salt only. Place on a platter.

Finish scallops in the oven for 2 minutes at 350 degrees. Do not overcook. Scallops should have a warm center.

Take out of the oven and place the scallops in a row on the salad.

Categories: Food + Fun, Lifestyle, Recipes