Rush-Hour Gourmet

It's best to use dry-packed scallops for this dish; they are beige or light pink and have not been soaked in a solution. The accompanying chutney is a simple sweet-sour jumble of thinly sliced onions that has great depth of flavor, especially considering its quick preparation. Serve with orzo salad or couscous.

Sauteed Scallops With Honey-Onion Chutney

Makes 4 servings

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The scallops may be sliced.

1 pound sea scallops, preferably dry-packed (may substitute firm, white fish; cook as needed)

1 large onion, about 1 pound

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

3/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 medium lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees; place heatproof individual plates on middle rack to warm.

2. Rinse the scallops and blot on layers of paper towels; turn over, dry both sides.

3. Peel the onion, cut in half; place the cut sides down, then cut each half into very thin slices.

4. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the onion is soft and golden. Stir in the vinegar, honey and paprika. Cook for 5 minutes, until the mixture bubbles and thickens to form a loose chutney. Reduce to the lowest heat setting or remove from the heat.

5. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a skillet. Squeeze 1 teaspoon of juice from the lemon into the butter and stir, then add the scallops and cook for 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Gently turn them over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until just firm yet fork-tender.

6. Divide the scallops among the warmed plates, then top each scallop with chutney. (If desired, cut scallops vertically into thin slices, fan the slices and top with the chutney. Serve immediately.

- Adapted from "Nova Scotia Cooking" (Key Porter Books, 1997).

Per serving: 383 calories, 20 grams protein, 67 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat, 52 milligrams cholesterol, 186 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber