My husband and I once traveled to a remote coastal town in Maine in search of the perfect seared scallops. Unfortunately for us, the chef was having an off night, and so the pinnacle of our scallop-tasting experiences eluded us.
But now, it just might be here, in these butter-seared scallops with a trifecta of sauces: coconut cream infused with lemongrass and ginger, a puree of mango and lime juice, and a kiwi puree. And just in time for Valentine’s Day! I hope you make this and enjoy it with your favorite one(s).
Seared Scallops with Coconut, Mango & Kiwi
Makes 2 entrées or 4 small dishes/appetizers.
- 8 medium scallops, washed in cold water and patted thoroughly dry
- 1/4 cup creamy & thick coconut milk or coconut cream
- 1/2 lemongrass stalk, pounded to release its oils and chopped in 2
- 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt (to taste)
- pinch of white pepper
- 1/2 mango, peel removed & coarsely chopped
- spritz of lime juice
- 2 kiwis, peel removed & coarsely chopped
- pat of butter
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- pinch of brown sugar
- chives to garnish
- In a small saucepan, combine the creamy coconut milk, lemongrass and ginger and bring to a boil, then turn down heat to let simmer. Simmer softly for 10-15 minutes or until nicely thickened; watch to ensure it doesn’t burn. Taste and add salt and white pepper, a bit at a time, to taste. Pour through a strainer into a small bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the purees: blend mango and a bit of lime juice until just combined; pour in a separate bowl and set aside. Wash out the blender container & then blend the kiwi; set aside in another bowl.
- Make sure the scallops are thoroughly dry (and when you give them a light squeeze, they don’t release any water). Pat dry again with a paper towel if in doubt. In a nonstick skillet, heat a teaspoon or so of unsalted butter on medium-high heat. When pan is very hot, add the scallops, spread out, 4 at a time. Lightly salt & pepper the top side only. After a couple minutes, when the scallops start to brown & form a golden ring around the edge, lift each one gently and sprinkle just a tiny pinch of brown sugar underneath – this will help them brown up even more all over. Cook for another 30 seconds to a minute, then flip and cook that side until done. Scallops should be just opaque but cooked through. Set aside and do the second batch of scallops.
- To plate, spoon out the kiwi puree in an arc on the outer edge of the plate, then another arc of the mango puree inside it. Plate 4 scallops each, then drizzle with the coconut milk and garnish with chives.
Notes: Try to get dry-packed scallops (or fresh!), as the chemicals used in the wet-packing process make it nearly impossible to get a good sear on the scallops. A very hot skillet, a small bit of butter, and the pinch of brown sugar will help them brown nicely regardless.
If you can’t find creamy & thick coconut milk, you may have to boil your coconut milk and reduce it for a longer time.
February 11, 2014 at 8:15 pm
This sounds divine. How did you figure out the brown sugar-searing trick? I’m not sure I trust myself to do this correctly but without trying I’ll never know, right?
February 13, 2014 at 2:09 pm
The brown sugar trick was mentioned in the scallops section of “The Food Bible” – so I had to try it! You can’t even taste it but it gives it a better sear than I’ve been able to accomplish before this 🙂 Try it! I hope you love it.
February 11, 2014 at 8:17 pm
I don’t eat scallops but your recipe makes me want to try them x
February 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm
February 12, 2014 at 12:09 am
This is absolutely gorgeous, the scallops have a perfect sear and the plating could easily be from a 5 star restaiurant. I love the mango and kiwi. This is a fantastic recipe.
February 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm
Oh, you make me blush! Seriously, you made my day/week/month. So sweet of you. I was dreaming up this combo for a while and couldn’t wait to try, and I loved it (so did hubby!). I’ve never done fancy plating before but had fun with it!
February 12, 2014 at 12:21 am
I love coastal Maine. These scallops do look divine – and who can say no to rich and creamy coconut milk?! This dish epitomizes the (well) seasoned traveler. Lovely! Best, Shanna
February 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm
Thanks so much, Shanna, what a compliment! Big hugs to you, -Laura
February 12, 2014 at 10:52 am
Wow, I echo Suzanne… this is a dish one would order in a high class restaurant. Brilliant trifecta of sauces (to quote you). Balance for the palate, seafood with fruity sauce. Absolutely marvelous!
February 13, 2014 at 2:18 pm
Your kind feedback means a lot, Fae. Thank you!
February 12, 2014 at 6:58 pm
all I can say is WOW.
February 12, 2014 at 7:22 pm
How very pretty and tasty looking!
February 13, 2014 at 4:18 pm
Scallops are one of my all time favourite foods! Your look divine