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Toni’s Arugula Salad with Pistachio-Crusted Scallops

It’s too hot for words today, and besides, any words I do have must be reserved for actual paycheck-type work, assignments that come from editors and have deadlines and some days feel a little like homework. OK, a lot. Not that I’m complaining. If I didn’t have homework looming, I’d never get things like laundry and dusting done. Wait – I don’t.

I came across this recipe in the Calgary Stampede Centennial Cookbook, which seemed fitting this week. It’s the sort of thing I’d most often flip by, but this time I decided to give it a go, and was glad I did. The seared scallops (I skipped the wasabi) were divine, and I’d never have thought to make a creamy dressing out of fresh peppery arugula and Key lime juice. I love an interesting salad, one that counts as dinner without feeling like “just a salad”, and this is one.

Don’t you think Stampede should have an intermission? Maybe a day or two? I vote yes.

Toni’s Arugula Salad with Pistachio-Crusted Scallops

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July 10, 2012

Adapted (slightly!) from Come n' Get It! The Calgary Stampede Centennial Cookbook, submitted by Toni Dixon, Director, Calgary Stampede

  • Makes: Serves 4-6.


6-12 scallops

2 Tbsp. mayo

1 tsp. wasabi paste (optional)

1/4-1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped or crushed

1 tub arugula

1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced

Mango Salsa

1 mango, pitted and diced

a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

a small chunk of purple onion, finely chopped

juice of half a lime

pinch salt

Key Lime Dressing

1 cup fresh arugula

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil

2 Key limes, halved and squeezed

2 tsp. grainy Dijon

1 1/2 tsp. honey

pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper


1Make the salsa and dressing first: toss all the salsa ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender (or tall container if you have a hand-held immersion blender) and whiz until smooth and emulsified. It will be a creamy pale green.

2Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of canola oil. Mix the mayo and wasabi paste and spread over each scallop; place the pistachios in a shallow dish and dip the scallops in to coat on both sides. Sear in the skillet for a minute or two per side, or just until cooked. Set aside on a plate.

3Arrange the arugula on a platter and place the salsa and avocado over top. Set the cooked scallops on top, along with any rogue pistachios from the pan, and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.


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13 comments on “Toni’s Arugula Salad with Pistachio-Crusted Scallops

  1. Laurie from Burnaby
    July 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Sounds wonderful!

  2. bellini
    July 11, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Toni has it going on. I knew I should have planted arugula in my garden plot:D

  3. Carol S-B
    July 11, 2012 at 8:12 am

    The salad looks lovely. I can’t believe you had time to post!
    But I’m glad you did.

  4. Theresa
    July 11, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I would walk from Red Deer for this salad!!!

  5. Kerstin
    July 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Looks divine Julie! Where can you get arugula in Calgary (if you didn’t grow your own)?

  6. Irm
    July 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Kerstin- superstore, co-op and Scarpone’s (the great Italian store) is where I purchase my arugula. Gonna have this tomorrow!! Some nice and ripe avocados need a recipe and this is it!! Thanks Julie!

  7. the other Al
    July 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    oh my freakin G!! that sounds yummy. hmm hmm hmm must get me some scallops.

  8. Kalyn
    July 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Oh my, this looks fantastic!

  9. Jen @ Savory Simple
    July 13, 2012 at 6:38 am

    There’s so much about this salad I love. Arugula, mango, pistachios, scallops… what a flavorful combination! And the photo is just mouth-watering.

  10. CalGirl
    July 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I tried today to obtain a copy of the Stampede Centennial Cookbook at the Stampede Grounds, but to no avail. It isn’t sold in their souvenir shops and when I enquired about it, no one had heard about it. I called the Stampede office several times this afternoon, and to my surprise, no one I talked to had heard about it either. I mentioned that I learned about it through your website and said it was a shame that you were giving them free advertising for something they don’t know they have and they were missing an opportunity. I don’t think I’m going to go to the grounds again to get the cookbook at some obscure desk ‘by the artwork in the BMO centre”. Anyway, love your website & always look forward to see what dish you are making.

  11. Irm
    July 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Made this tonite…but my darn pistachios kept burning…oh well, after I scraped them off, everything was delicious!!!!

  12. Jaya
    July 14, 2012 at 11:02 am

    What a perfect summer meal! I can’t wait to try this!!

  13. CanadyAnna
    July 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I tried this one too – and it was a perfect meal, wonderful flavours that my hubby moaned in delight over BUT!!!! keeping the flippin’ pistachio bits affixed to the scallops and not just becoming toasty crumbs in the bottom of the pan was horrible. Next time I’m just sauteing the scallops and sprinkling the crushed the pistachios on top and save the aggro. And yeah, for the amount of zip the wasabi added, if you haven’t got any, well, just fuggeddaboutit.

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