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Seared Scallops with Chorizo and Potatoes
Sustainable Seafood Recipe
This recipe is "a nice combination of flavors and textures," says chef Rick Bayless. "You've got the meatiness of the chorizo with all its spices and tang, and then the richness of the scallops and creaminess of the potatoes.
"I don't like scallops that are very cooked," he adds, "so I get the skillet really hot and sear them on the outside and still leave them slightly translucent on the inside—that's where I think they shine texturally and flavor-wise."
Wild-caught sea scallops from the U.S. Atlantic are on the Seafood Watch yellow, "Good Alternatives" list
- (Serves 6–8 as a soft taco filling or tapa)
- 1 pound red-skin boiling potatoes (about 4 medium), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 pound scallops
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage (about 1 1/2 cups), casing removed
- 4 large green onions, roots and withered outer leaves trimmed off, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Corn tortillas (optional)
For the potatoes:
Half fill a 4-quart saucepan with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to boil.Add potatoes and simmer over medium heat until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain.
For the scallops:
Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Heat a 12-inch skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. For best results, choose a skillet or griddle that is heavy and nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron.
Add oil and, when quite hot, add scallops in an uncrowded layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear, turning occasionally, until golden, about 2 minutes total. With high heat, the scallops will sear without overcooking.
Scoop onto a wide plate.
To finish and serve:
Place chorizo and green onions in skillet. Cook over medium heat, breaking up any clumps of chorizo, just until sausage has rendered its fat, 6–7 minutes.
Add drained potatoes and continue cooking, occasionally scraping up any sticky bits, until potatoes begin to look crusty-brown, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the scallops into pieces that resemble the diced potatoes.
When the potatoes are browned, add scallops. Mix everything together as the scallops heat for a minute or so.
Scoop the mixture into a serving bowl and set before guests. For tacos, serve with corn tortillas.
Hints from the Chef
"People are a little afraid of heat in their home kitchens so what they turn out doesn't have that rich caramelization on the outside that so many people love in restaurant cooking. Whether it's sautéing, grilling, or searing on a griddle, it's all the same thing. It's about getting the temperature hot enough that the food will sear beautifully without overcooking"
Rick Bayless, host of the ongoing PBS series, "Mexico—One Plate at a Time," is an award-winning chef-restaurateur and cookbook author who focuses on authentic Mexican cuisine.
Dredge-caught Wild Sea Scallops from the U.S. Atlantic
Sea scallop populations from the U.S. Atlantic are currently considered healthy and abundant. While the dredges used to pull scallops up from the seafloor do disrupt the habitat, the impact is generally much less damaging or long-lasting on the soft, muddy bottom where scallops live. Therefore, dredge-caught sea scallops are recommended as a "Good Alternative."
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