Running from the Law: Super Easy Pan-seared Scallops with Fruit Salsa

Monday, October 12, 2009

Super Easy Pan-seared Scallops with Fruit Salsa

This is just about the quickest and easiest recipe ever. You're going to love me for this one!


  • 1 tub store-made pico de gallo (Whole Foods has an excellent one)
  • 3/4 cup diced pineapple
  • dash of ground cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey (optional)
  • 20 large dry-packed* scallops
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil


For the fruit salsa:
  1. Add diced pineapple to the pico de gallo.
  2. If you'd like it to be a little spicier, add the cayenne. If you want it to be sweet and spicy, add both the cayenne and the honey. I recommend both.
  3. Heat up for a minute in a small sautee-pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Set aside.

For the scallops:
  1. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season with the salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the cooking oil.
  3. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the scallops. Make sure that the scallops do not touch each other – they should have a finger-width’s space between them.
  4. Sautee the scallops 1-1/2 – 2 minutes each side and remove immediately to prevent overcooking. Timing depends on how thick your scallops are. Try not to move them around in the skillet while cooking, so they can form a crust. The scallops should have a golden brown crust and the interior will be medium-rare.
Serve the scallops with the fruit salsa on top. Viola!

Above: Pico de gallo

Below: diced pineapple (I buy the tub of pre-cut pineapple and dice it smaller)

Below: Pico de gallo (from Whole Foods) combined with diced pineapple

Add a bit of honey for sweetness

Add a dash of pepper for some spice

These are medium-sized dry-packed sea scallops. I'd recommend the larger ones, if you can get them. Serving size is probably around 8-10 medium-sized scallops (or 4-5 large-size scallops) per person.

Sautee the scallops in cooking oil, a few minutes on each side. Try not to let them touch each other. And try not to move them around in the pan so they can form that awesome brown crust.

* NOTE: It is incredibly important to make sure your scallops are dry-packed. Dry-packed scallops are scallops that are shucked, packed up and shipped on ice without chemical additives. They taste better than wet-packed scallops, which are soaked in water and sodium tripolyphosphate, meaning the scallop becomes bloated with water and additives. These scallops contain too much moisture and are less successful in the pan, since excess water seeps out, preventing a flavorful crust from forming on the outside of the scallop as it cooks. Dry-packed scallops may also have a stickier texture and a slightly more pronounced smell, which is nothing to worry about. They cost more, but have a naturally sweeter taste. Do NOT use frozen scallops.

Other things you can add to the salsa:
  • diced mango
  • fresh minced mint leaves
  • diced papaya
  • diced cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

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