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Spicy Red Pepper & Cilantro Sauce for Seared Scallops


Yields enough for 1 lb. seared scallops.

  • To learn more, read:
    Perfectly Seared Scallops
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 72

This is not so much a sauce as a flavorful coating; you’ll have just enough liquid to moisten the scallops as you roll them around in the pan.

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 fresh serrano chile or small jalapeño, cored, seeded, and minced
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 heaping Tbs. coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Follow the recipe for Seared Scallops, using 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil to sear the scallops.

Once the scallops have been transferred to a plate and the pan has cooled somewhat, return the pan to medium heat. Add the oil, garlic, and chile and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bell pepper and sauté, stirring often, until the pepper is barely soft, about 1 min. Add the lime juice and simmer to reduce slightly, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in the cilantro. Reduce the heat to low and return the scallops and any accumulated juices to the pan. Gently roll the scallops around to coat them in the sauce and to warm them through. Taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on three servings, Calories (kcal): 103, Fat (kcal): 10, Fat Calories (g): 85, Saturated Fat (g): 2, Protein (g): 1, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7, Carbohydrates (mg): 2, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1, Sodium (g): 141, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 1,

Nice contrast between the scallop's soft, sweet flesh and the the spicy, citrusy bits of red pepper. Easy and quick to make - you can cook it in front of your guests. Garnish with lime slices for those that like some extra kick and serve with a glass of cold Chablis!

Made this for Mothers Day. One of the best scallop dishes I have ever had. Nice balance between all of the flavors; nothing overwhelming (I am a little partial to garlic, however). Kind of a Moorish, Tapas type dish. Made one substitution. Since I didn't have a jalopeno, I used a pickled jalopenos from a jar. Also had sauteed carrots with cumin an cilantro (from Pam Anderson's Cook Without a Book, along with crusty bread.

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