This is a lovely little appetizer that can be pan-seared inside or grilled if you are doing an outdoor barbecue, and the sauces can be prepped in advance. I pan-seared these in some coconut oil (ghee also works well–just make sure you don’t use olive oil for searing, because the smoke point is too low) and served them in butter lettuce cups with the toppings.
To sear scallops, make sure you start with dry pack–that means they have no chemical additives. “Wet pack” scallops are treated with chemicals which add false water weight to the purchase price, so they might seem cheaper but they are not. The chemical treatment is also often used to make scallops look white and to cover off odors–plus it can make them taste bitter. Finally, dry pack scallops let you develop a real sear in the pan. Wet pack scallops just stew in their chemical broth, and they do not sear.
Have I convinced you to buy dry pack? I hope so.
Seared Scallops with Avocado “Crema” and Sriracha Drizzle
- 2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
- juice of two limes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed (optional)
- 1/4 cup sriracha, or similar hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1-2 tablespoons water
- 1-2 pounds dry-pack sea scallops
- 3 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee
- butter lettuce leaves
- To make the crema, place the avocado, lime, salt, water, and cilantro in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- To make the sriracha drizzle, stir together the sriracha, honey, and enough water to make it the thickness you prefer.
- To sear the scallops, pat them dry on both sides with a paper towel. Heat the coconut oil or ghee over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the scallops in a single layer, being careful that they do not touch. Let them cook undisturbed until you have a good sear on one side, then flip them and let them cook for another one to two minutes–you don't want them to overcook and toughen. If you are using two pounds, do this in two batches.
- If you want to grill the scallops, brush them with a little melted coconut oil or ghee, and grill them quickly on both sides on your outdoor grill.
- To serve, let guests assemble their own by placing some of the avocado crema in a lettuce leaf, topped by a scallop and some of the sriracha drizzle
These are loaded with great texture and flavors, and they are almost as good at room temperature as they are hot. They would make a great addition to a holiday barbecue.