Seared Sea Scallops with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

seared scallops

Butter is the secret to cooking fabulous scallops. The fresh and spicy vinaigrette adds light but bold flavour to these big boys. Pan searing them much like a filet mignon (with high heat) produces a crispy outer crust while leaving the meaty center tender. When shopping for Sea scallops, alternate names include King scallops, Great scallops, Diver scallops, Alaskan scallops, and Jumbo scallops. Leave the much smaller Bay scallops for the seals and other marine mammals. While particularly sweet and delicate, they are not well suited for pan searing.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Jalapeno Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon chopped garlic
  • ½ cup, plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium jalapeno
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 large sea scallops (1½ pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and onion with ½ teaspoon of salt. Let stand for 10 minutes, then stir in honey, cilantro, garlic, and olive oil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over high heat until just smoking. Add the jalapeno and cook, turning until blackened and blistered on all sides, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Slide off the blackened skin and discard the stem. Cut the Jalapeno in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Finely chop the jalapeno and stir into the vinaigrette.
  4. Rinse scallops and pat dry with a paper towel. Season the scallops with salt and pepper.
  5. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of butter until it starts to brown. Add the scallops and cook over high heat for about 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes.
  6. Flip the scallops over and add the remaining butter spooning it on the scallops until just white throughout, about 3 minutes.
  7. Immediately transfer to plates and drizzle the jalapeno vinaigrette on top of the scallops. Serve with steamed rice and mango avocado salad.

Pair this with a Curtis Winery Viognier. Abundant aromas of orange peel, apricots, and blooming jasmine. A pretty wine that offers bright flavours of peach, pear, and lime. Sleek, silky, and unforgettable.

Movie night suggestion: Directed by John Sayles, The Secret of Roan Inish (1994) is the story of a young girl named Fiona who is sent to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village in Ireland. She learns the local legend that one of her ancestors married a Selkie (a seal who can turn into a human). Years earlier, her baby brother washed out to sea in a cradle; someone in the family believes the boy is being raised by seals. Fiona sees something on the abandoned Isle of Roan Inish and takes an active role in uncovering a secret.