~Serves 4 as an appetizer; 2 as main course
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
3 Tbs. EVOO, more for drizzling
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 cups fresh shelled peas (about 2 lb. unshelled) or frozen peas
1 cup lower-salt chicken broth or water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 very thin slices pancetta
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
12 medium all-natural "dry"sea scallops (not soaked in sodium tripolyphosphate)
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1) Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375 F (I used my toaster oven)
2) Set aside 1 Tbs. of the shallots and put the rest in a 3-qt saucepan with 2 Tbs. of the oil and the garlic. Cook over medium-low heat until the shallots are soft and fragrant but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and the broth and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover the pan and cook until the peas are tender (5 to 8 minutes for frozen).
3) Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and puree to a smooth consistency, adding a little water if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the puree to the saucepan, cover, and set aside on the stovetop to keep warm. (This is why I own an Immersion Blender - I blended the peas right in the small pot).
4) Put the pancetta on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, 10 to 14 minutes. Set aside in a warm spot. In a small bowl combine the parsley, lemon zest, and the reserved 1 Tbs. shallots and set aside.
5) Pat the scallops dry and season them generously with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the scallops and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides and almost firm to the touch, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
6) Portion the warm pea puree among serving plates. Arrange the scallops on the puree and crumble the pancetta on top. Sprinkle the gremolata over all and finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil.