Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pan-Grilled Sea Scallops

I couldn't resist some beautiful fresh sea scallops at the farmer's market. Even better, they were only $12/lb. I could get very used to the cheaper seafood here.

There were only 2 scallop recipes in 660 Curries. The other seemed more appropriate because it would use some bell peppers and onions, but I couldn't pass on the combination of peanuts and spinach. The recipe calls for baby spinach, but I used chopped regular spinach. The spinach/peanut combination is so good that August said he would've been happy to eat as a side even without the scallops! Of course, the scallops themselves were great (the author says you can also use shrimp or other fish). I was proud of myself for finally being able to give scallops a nice sear. It's amazing what a difference a fresh product makes!

As a final word of warning, the masala in this is unique. It's worth taking the time to make it as it adds a lot to the dish.

One year ago: Basil, Hazelnut, and Chocolate Cupcakes
Two years ago: Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce
Three years ago: Asparagus with Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

Pan-Grilled Sea Scallops (from 660 Curries)

1 lb large sea scallops
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp canola oil
6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb baby spinach, rinsed
1 tbsp kolhapuri masala
1 tsp coarse salt

1. Combine scallops with turmeric in medium-size bowl. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes or up to overnight.
2. Pour peanut into food processor and pulse until the consistency of coarse bread crumbs.
3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add scallops, arranging in a single layer.
4. Sear scallops for 3 - 5 minutes on each side until light brown. Transfer to a plate.
5. Add garlic to skillet and stir-fry until light brown, 1 minute.
6. Add spinach leaves to skillet, cover, and cook until wilted, 5 - 8 minutes.
7. Stir in masala and salt.
8. Add scallops (with liquid) to skillet and cover with wilted spinach. Cook until scallops are firm, 3 - 5 minutes.
9. Transfer scallops to a serving platter.
10. Add peanuts to spinach in skillet and stir to combine. Simmer to allow sauce to thicken, 2 - 4 minutes.
11. Spoon spinach-peanut mixture over scallops and serve.

Kolhapuri Masala
1 cup dried red Thai or cayenne chiles
1/2 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
4 blades mace or 1/4 tsp ground mace (add with Kashmiri chiles if using ground)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp canola oil
2 tbsp ground Kasmiri chiles or 1/2 tbsp cayenne + 1 1/2 tbsp sweet paprika

1. Combine all ingredients except ground in a medium-size boal and stir to coat with oil.
2. Preheat medium skillet over medium heat. Add oiled spices and roast until chiles blacken, coconut turns dark brown, and spices are fragrant, 3 - 4 minutes.
3. Transfer to plate to cool.
4. Grind in a blender.
5. Stir in ground spices and store.

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