makes four servings
1 medium eggplant
fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium tomatoes
16 mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
4 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
8 sea scallops
baby lettuce for garnish (optional)
8 8-inch wooden skewers
Cut 8 (1/4-inch-thick) rounds of eggplant from widest part of vegetable (reserve remaining eggplant for another use). Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add eggplant rounds in a single layer and season with generous pinch salt; cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer rounds to a baking dish and drizzle with vinegar and 1 tablespoon oil; set aside.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add tomatoes and boil for 30 seconds; drain, peel, quarter and seed. Cut quarters in half crosswise.
In a medium saucepan, combine mussels and 1 tablespoon oil. Cook over medium heat, covered, until mussels just open wide, checking frequently after 3 minutes and transferring open mussels to a bowl using a slotted spoon. (Discard any mussels that remain unopened after 8 minutes.) When cool enough to handle, remove mussels from shell; discard shells.
Wrap 1 slice bacon around two mussels; repeat with remaining bacon and mussels. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add bacon bundles to hot pan, seam-side down; cook, turning occasionally, until bacon is cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
Place flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat egg in a second shallow bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow bowl. Lightly flour 1 scallop, then dip in egg, letting excess drip off, then gently press into breadcrumbs to generously coat all sides. Transfer to a large plate. Repeat with remaining scallops.
Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add scallops and cook, turning once, until scallops are just cooked through and breading is crisp and golden, about 8 minutes.
Remove eggplant rounds from marinade. Thread scallops, tomatoes, mussels, and folded eggplant rounds onto skewers. Serve garnished with lettuces, if using.
bacon recipe courtesy of: "Treasures from the Sea," La Cucina Italiana, pp. 38-40, July/August 2011