Scallops with Mushrooms and Asparagus

6 spears thin asparagus
4 large crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large sea scallops, tough ligament removed from side of each if attached
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Trim asparagus, then cut stems into 1-1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices, leaving tips whole.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté asparagus, stirring occasionally, until just tender. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Sauté mushrooms, adding a drizzle of oil, if needed, for 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute. Transfer mushrooms and garlic to the plate with the asparagus, reserving skillet off heat (do not clean).

Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with pepper and salt. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté turning over once, until browned and just cooked through, 3 minutes per side. Transfer scallops to a plate and keep warm.

Carefully add wine and vinegar to skillet (mixture may spatter) and boil, scraping up brown bits, until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 1 minute. Add any scallop juices accumulated on plate and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter.

Add reserved vegetables, and cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes.

Serve scallops topped with asparagus and sauce. To serve as a main dish, as I did, serve on top of thin spaghetti.

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