I love scallops, and am always looking for another way to prepare them. This takes no time, and is great for a wonderful meal. You can also serve these as appetizers, just distribute the preserves mixture and the scallops differently, or place all on one plate and serve with decorative picks.
1Finely chop the almonds into small pieces but not into a powder. Mix the almonds and 4 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon vinegar and chives; season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar if desired.
2Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet. Cook until deep golden and caramelized, 2-3 minutes. Turn scallops; add butter and thyme. Cook, frequently tilting skillet and spooning butter over the scallops, until the scallops are deep golden and just cooked through, 2-3 minutes longer. (Basting will add extra flavor.)
3Stir the preserves and 1/2 teaspoon water in a small bowl to loosen. Smear 1 tablespoon preserve mixture in the center of 2 plates. Top with 6 scallops on each plate. Drizzle some vinaigrette over. Garnish with herbs or arugula.