Scallop carpaccio looks so pretty, sounds so sophisticated, and it is actually one of the easiest ways to prepare scallops. One of the best, too, when you have really, really, fresh ones. (As I do in Cancale from October to May.) Since the idea is to showcase that freshness, you don’t need much in terms of ingredients, and you can mix and match with what you have on hand. A sprinkling of allium (a fancy word for the onion family), a squeeze of citrus, a drizzle of olive oil, some good salt and pepper, and that’s it. Sometimes I gild the lily with a dash of something spicy like Espelette pepper, ancho chile powder, or a few drops of hot sauce but that’s not essential.

If you want to make this ahead, slice and plate the scallops, prep the other ingredients, keep everything separate and covered in the fridge, then do the sprinkle-drizzle thing just before serving.

8 to 10 large sea scallops
2 Tbs. finely chopped onion, scallion, shallot, chives, or wild garlic
1 to 2 Tbs. lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit juice
2 to 3 Tbs. olive oil
½ tsp. fleur de sel, Kosher salt, or other coarse-grained salt
several grindings fresh black pepper

Thinly slice each scallop (into 4 or 5 rounds – I like my carpaccio on the thick-ish side so you have something to sink your teeth into), then set the slices close together on an 8 or 9-inch plate. Sprinkle with the chopped onion (or other). Drizzle with lemon juice then olive oil, and season with the salt and pepper. For the best flavor, let the carpaccio rest 5 to 15 minutes before serving. (Don’t leave it too much longer; the citrus juice will start to ‘cook’ the scallops). Serve the carpaccio on its own with toothpicks or with thin slices of bread. Serves 4 as an hors d’oeuvre