Recently, Shnoo was on a business trip so I had a girlfriend over for dinner and made these sugar-seared diver scallops served in Chinese soup spoons, atop homemade Chimichurri sauce and topped with a tomato fig salsa, for an appetizer. Scallops are the perfect thing to cook when you’re craving shellfish, but feeling a little lazy. They’re easy to prepare and even easier to eat! No peeling or cracking or laborious picking necessary to indulge in the firm, lightly sweet, pale white meat that adds a level of luxury to many great recipes.
Unlike clams, oysters, or mussels, that are bold and brash in flavor, scallops are delicate and subtle, so they play nicely with a wide variety of ingredients. For me it’s the texture of scallops that make them so alluring and visually, they look like fluffy “marshmallows” of the sea—just another perk ;).
If you love eating scallops when dining out, but haven’t tried cooking them at home, this recipe is a super simple one to dtart with, that’s as fun to serve as it is to eat! And if you’re a scallop-cooking pro, you should still stick this recipes on your “to make list” because it’s quite bomb IMHO.
For Homemade Chimichurri Sauce
- 1/3 cup parsley, washed and rough chopped
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 large, sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt (I like Kosher sea salt)
- 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
For Tomato Fig Salsa
- 1/2 cup baby tomatoes, diced (I used orange ones)
- 3 large mission figs, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional but FABULOUS!)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1. Prepare Chimichurri sauce. In food processor, combine all ingredients for sauce. Process until blended and combined, scrapping down sides with spatula as needed. Set aside and let stand for at least 30 minutes. (This can be made up to 2 days in advance and needs to be refrigerated, then brought to room temperature before serving.)
- 2. To make tomato fig salsa, in medium bowl, combine diced tomatoes, diced figs, olive oil, lemon juice, chili flakes and salt. Toss to coat. Set aside.
- 3. Rinse scallops and pat dry with paper towel, then place on plate and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper. Flip scallops over and repeat. Set aside. To sear scallops, heat large, stainless steel frying pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter to pan and let melt. Reduce heat to medium. Place scallops in pan, large flat side down, and let sear for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and slightly charred on one side. Gently, lovingly, flip scallops, reduce heat to medium-low and sear for an additional 1-2 minutes. While scallops are cooking, fill each Chinese soup spoon with about 1 1/2 tablespoons Chimichurri sauce. (Don’t over fill or the sauce will spill over when you place scallop on top).
- 4. Place one seared scallop in each spoon, atop the fabulous emerald green Chimichurri goodness. Crown each scallop with a teaspoon of tomato fig salsa. Serve immediately and enjoy the oohs and ahhs from the lucky recipients. 😉