Sweet buttery sea scallops in a refreshing savory coconut lime sauce topped with fresh mint and crispy fried shallots. Scallop crudo is made with thinly sliced raw scallops which are sushi grade so there is no cooking necessary. It is light, flavorful, and well balanced pairing well with a variety of drinks, from white wine to cocktails.
What are scallops?
Scallops are a type of shellfish that are prized for their sweet, delicate flavor and tender texture. They are native to the coastal waters of many countries, including the United States, Canada, China, and Japan. Scallops are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and are also low in fat and calories.
How do I choose scallops?
To ensure the best quality and food safety, it is important to purchase seafood from reputable companies or fishmongers. It is recommended to consume the seafood the same day it is purchased.
There are two main types of scallops: bay scallops and sea scallops. Bay scallops are small and have a sweet, delicate flavor, while sea scallops (diver) are larger and have a more robust flavor. Both types of scallops can be eaten raw or cooked, and are often used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to pastas and stir-fries.
Another category is wet scallops or dry scallops. Wet (packed) scallops have been treated with water and chemicals to increase their weight (in other words, you’re paying more for excess water) and shelf-life. Wet scallops do not sear as well as dry.
When purchasing sea scallops you will notice two indicators “dry” and “U-#”. Dry scallops are fresh and untreated with chemicals. U-# represents the number of scallops required to make one pound ex. U-8, U-10, U-12, U-10/20, U-20/30, U-30/40. A single U-8 will weigh more than a U-20 for example.
Scallops are classified as male or female based on their reproductive anatomy. The white adductor muscle, which is the edible part of the scallop, tends to be slightly darker and sweeter in female scallops. Male scallops have a whiter appearance in their adductor muscle.
How can scallops be prepared?
Dry sea scallops are sushi grade which is perfect for eating raw or cooked. These shellfish are filter feeders so particles may be lodged in their meat. To avoid eating any remaining sand or shell fragments, they should be thoroughly rinsed with water and gently dried with a paper towel. Some common ways of cooking them are:
- Searing: To sear, heat a little oil or butter in a pan over medium-high heat until it is hot. Add the scallops to the pan and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they are lightly browned The cross-section should look pink and opaque.
- Grilling: Grill over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through.
- Baking: Sear the scallops. Place them into a half shell and add tablespoon of compound butter. Broil for one minute maximum to prevent burning.
- Poaching: Poached in a flavorful liquid, such as broth or white wine, until they are cooked through.
- Steaming: Steam over a pot of simmering water until they are cooked through.
What is the best way to prepare scallops raw?
- Chill scallops for at least 30 minutes to help them firm up and make them easier to slice. Just be sure to store them in the refrigerator tightly sealed until you are ready to use them.
- Rinse the scallops under cold running water and pat them dry with paper towels
- Place the scallops on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice the scallops into thin rounds, about 1/4 inch thick. Be sure to slice the scallops as evenly as possible crosswise, as this will help them taste better.
- Arrange the slices on a platter
- Make the sauce immediately before serving
- Drizzle with sauce and garnish as desired
What do raw scallops taste like?
Raw scallops have a sweet, buttery, and tender texture. Enjoying scallops raw is the best way to appreciate their flavor and texture.
What is scallop crudo?
Scallop crudo is a dish made with thinly sliced raw scallops. It is typically served as an appetizer or first course.
Scallop Crudo in a Coconut and Lime Sauce
- 1 lb large “dry” U8 U10, or U12 sea scallops
- 1/2 can coconut cream
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup mint cilantro, or dill fronds
- 2 tbsp fried shallots
- 1 tbsp chili oil without sediment (optional)
- 1/2 lime or cucumber thinly sliced for garnish
- Prep | Rinse the scallops with cold water and pat dry. Place a scallop on a cutting board flat-side down. Using one hand, hold it in place keeping it as flat as possible. With the other hand, carefully cut it crosswise into three slices of even thickness about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat. Arrange into a single layer across two plates and chill.
- Sauce | Right before serving, mix together the coconut cream, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and mirin in a small bowl.
- Assemble | Drizzle with sauce and chili oil if desired. Top with lime or cucumber, mint leaves, and fried shallots. If using lime, remove garnish before consuming.