By Michael Elmore
My fiance, Catie, loves scallops. If given the choice between some tender seared scallops and a rib eye, I think she would be hard pressed to choose. As a lawyer, she works pretty long days, and so I surprised her with dinner by combining her favorite flavors: tender, lush scallops with Thai flavors.
We had these as an appetizer with a steak dinner entree (hey, just cause I said she would choose one over the other, doesn’t mean I made her choose!), but the scallops were the real star. A balanced, controlled heat from the peppers, a lushness on the tongue from the butter, and a tangy acidity form the lime juice that brings all the flavors together made every bight scrumptious. So grab some seafood and enjoy this epic journey under the sea!
- 15 scallops
- 1 Thai chili, minced (to lower heat, seed the chili; you can also use a jalapeno to drastically drop the heat level without sacrificing flavor).
- 6 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1.5 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Fresh mint, chopped
- Put 2 tbsp vegetable oil into a large pan (just enough to coat) over medium high heat. While heating, pat the scallops as dry as possible with a paper towel on each side (this will help give a better sear). Cook the scallops approximately 3 minutes per side, making sure to flip only once, until cooked through and opaque. Remove from pan onto a paper towel to dry any excess oil and sprinkle with salt.
- To the same pan, add the chili pepper and ginger, stirring frequently until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds.
- Add the fish sauce and soy sauce, and, using a wooden spoon, scrap the pan of any browned bits on the pan.
- Add the butter, cardamon, lime zest and juice along with a pinch of salt. Whisk and cook for a couple more minutes, making sure not to boil the butter (lower heat if required).
- Plate scallops then spoon on some of the sauce on top. Garnish with fresh, chopped mint if desired.