Liz Neumark of The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm in upstate New York teaches children how to grow, harvest and prepare healthy, natural, local food. Sylvia’s Table, their cookbook released this week, is full of the Center’s greatest hits. These citrusy scallops are the perfect summer seafood dish.
Lemongrass can be nearly addictive, with its delicate lemony scent and flavor. No wonder it is pretty much indispensable in Thai cooking. I am seeing it more and more in ordinary supermarkets, and it is certainly available in Asian and specialty markets.
Get the largest scallops you can find for this recipe and remove any tough ligament that is still attached at the side.
- 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 2 pounds fresh sea scallops
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 cup vegetable stock, homemade or good-quality store bought
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions or chives
- cooked white or basmati rice, for serving
- Whisk together 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, the tarragon, lime zest and juice, and half the garlic, shallots and ginger in a wide, shallow dish. Add the scallops, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for no longer than 30 minutes.
- While the scallops are marinating, prepare the broth. Cut away the small pale bottom part of the lemongrass and peel off the tough outer leaves. Place the pieces on their sides and press down, with your palm or the side of a large knife, to bruise them.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add the remaining shallots and slowly sauté until they are caramelized — richly browned but not burned. Add the remaining garlic and ginger and stir for about 1 minute.
- Add the lemongrass and fish sauce to the pan and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute, then pour in the vegetable stock. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for about 5 minutes longer. Set the sauce aside and keep it warm.
- Meanwhile, drain the scallops of excess marinade and set them on paper towels for a minute or so to dry. Place a large skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, then coat the surface with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, gently add the scallops to the skillet without crowding them; sear the scallops in two batches if necessary.
- Cook the scallops on one side for about 2 minutes, or until they are browned. Do not move them about or the searing process will be affected. Turn the scallops over and cook for 2 more minutes.
- To serve, pour some of the warm sauce onto individual plates and set the scallops on the sauce; garnish with the scallions and place the rice to the side.
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