Toss seared scallops with a flavorful caramel sauce for a simple, yet elegant, meal that's perfect for date nights. Serve with wide rice noodles and sugar snap peas.
3 1/2 teaspoons sugar, divided
5 teaspoons water, divided
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 large sea scallops (about 12 ounces)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
2 lime wedges
How to Make It
Combine 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon water, fish sauce, and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small bowl.
Combine remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and remaining 2 teaspoons water in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking 2 minutes or until golden (do not stir). Remove from heat; carefully add fish sauce mixture, stirring constantly. Keep warm.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle black pepper over scallops; add scallops to pan. Cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Add sauce; toss well. Sprinkle with mint. Serve with lime.
Wide rice noodles and sugar snap peas: Steam 6 ounces sugar snap peas 2 minutes or until crisp-tender; place in bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil to peas; toss well. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds.
Here's a tip for drying out the scallops that I picked up on the Food Network (Secrets of a Restaurant Chef). After drying with a paper towel, place scallops on a plate and leave them in the fridge uncovered for an hour or so. They'll dry enough to carmelize while staying at a food safe temp.
You cannot "caramelize" scallops or any animal product. You can only caramelize foods that contain simple sugars. You "brown" meats or seafoods (it's actually the Maillard reaction). Many chefs on TV get this terminology wrong, also. This recipe should be "Browned" or "Seared" Scallops. You cannot "caramelize" meats!
I cooked this tonight with the dry packed scallops. Both my husband & I really liked it. I cooked the scallops for just a bit on both sides and then finished cooking them with the sauce. They caramelized very well. I didn't use the mint. We will have this again.
Wonderful flavor! I took the comment about drying the scallops in the fridge for an hour. The little guys sure carmelized nicely. the only thing is added is Lawry Seasoned Salt. I served the scallops with Steamfresh veggies and tomatoes stuffed with cottage cheese. Nice Spring supper. A keeper for sure.
Great flavor. Only comment is that I'm not sure what was "caramelized" in the recipe. Mine did not turn out like the picture. Could definitely be user error, but I followed the instructions exactly and they didn't turn out caramelized. But great taste overall.
I buy fresh scallops that are in liquid, you must dry them on paper towels. I sear them in oil in a very hot pan. I like to flour them first, this makes a wonderful crust on them. I prefer not to salt them. I haven't made this but will try it.
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