Seared Bacon-wrapped Scallops with Lemon-Basil VinaigretteFeatured by Donelan Family Wines in the Platinum Wine Club.
16 slices thin-cut bacon
Juice of one lemon
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the scallops
1 tbsp. slivered fresh basil leaves
When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Lay the strips of bacon directly on the grill grate and grill for about 10 minutes, or until the bacon has rendered some of its fat but is still pliant. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool slightly.
In the meantime, put a cast iron skillet on the Traeger grill grate and increase the temperature of the Traeger to 400 or 450 degrees F (High). (You don't have to use a cast iron pan - you can put the scallops directly on the grill grate - but using the cast iron pan will get you that sear that we love so much on scallops.) Put the lemon juice in a small bowl. Whisk in the rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the 1/2 teaspoon of pepper until the salt crystals dissolve. Slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of olive oil while whisking until the vinaigrette is emulsified (has fully come together). Stir in the basil and set aside.
Wrap one strip of the partially cooked bacon around the side of each scallop, securing with a toothpick. (Make sure the toothpick runs parallel to the bacon.) Brush the exposed sides of each scallop with olive oil and season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Arrange the scallops directly in the hot cast iron pan (or directly on the grill grate) and grill, turning once, for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until the scallops are opaque.
Transfer the scallops to a platter or plates. Drizzle with the Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette. Don't forget to remind diners to remove the toothpicks before they pop one in.