Friday, May 20, 2011

Spicy Orange-Basil Scallops

I had gone out to lunch with a neighbor and as we headed back to the house, we passed the Agri-Center. And there was the Paradise Seafood Truck. We pulled in and each of us picked up some seafood.

One of the things I was excited to see was fresh jumbo head-on shrimp, and I’ll tell you about that on another day. But I also picked up a pound of scallops, lovely large scallops. Unprocessed, too.

You’ve had the scallop lecture from me at least once before, but just to remind you, most of what you buy frozen in bags at the supermarket or price clubs will state "containing a solution of…" which means they are pumped up with water and chemicals to keep the water in. By the time the water has cooked away, and the scallops start to brown, they are overdone and tough. I think that may be why some folks don’t think they like scallops.

I had a lot of oranges and limes, so I thought I would try to turn them into something a bit spicy. For spice, I like Chipotle Tabasco. I love the smoky flavor it lends, and that it’s not nearly as hot as regular Tabasco. I use it a lot.

The basil in my herb pots out back had already filled out, so I used that too. With rice pilaf and a green salad, I had a quick and yummy dinner.


2 large oranges
2 large limes
2 tbsp chipotle Tabasco (or to taste)
3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 lb sea scallops, patted dry
3 tbsp olive oil
3 plump garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp (packed) fresh basil leaves, slivered
Additional basil, for garnish

Rinse off the oranges and limes and dry well. With a grater or microplane remove the zest from one orange and one lime and put into a small heavy saucepan. Squeeze the juice from all the fruit and add to the pan. Over medium-low heat, simmer to reduce by about half or a little more. Let cool slightly and whisk in the butter. Set aside.

In a bowl mix the flour, cumin, coriander and salt. Remove and reserve one tablespoon of the flour mixture. Toss the scallops in the flour mixture to coat well.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold the scallops in one layer. Add the garlic and cook until just barely golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the scallops two or three at a time. Cook the first side until a rich golden brown, then turn to lightly brown the bottom. As they brown, remove and place on a clean plate.

Return the garlic to the pan and add the slivered basil. Sprinkle with the reserved tablespoon of seasoned flour and stir a couple of times. Add the reduced orange mixture and bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Return the scallops to the pan and simmer just long enough to heat through.

Serve immediately, garnished with fresh basil. Serves 4.
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