Seared Sea Scallops With Spicy Carrot Coulis
A coulis, pronounced koo-LEE, is a thin, pourable sauce, often made from tomatoes for savory dishes, or from berries for desserts. This brilliant orange sauce gets a splash of vinegar for a hit of acidity and a pinch of cayenne for heat, a perfect foil for the scallops’ sweetness. For the best flavor, use young bunch carrots, not large “horse carrots.” This is a very easy dish if the sauce is prepared in advance. (Make the sauce up to a day ahead. If made in advance, reheat to serve.) Then it’s just a matter of searing the scallops and assembling the plates.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1 ½cups sliced young carrots
- 6large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1cup chopped sweet onion
- 2tablespoons white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- Generous pinch of ground cayenne
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- 1tablespoon honey or granulated sugar
- 2cups chicken broth, light vegetable stock or water
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 18large dry-packed sea scallops, cleaned and patted dry (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1cup roughly chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems (from 1 small bunch)
- 2tablespoons finely cut chives or green scallion tops
- 2tablespoons thinly sliced Fresno, serrano or jalapeño chiles
- Lime wedges, for serving
Step 1Make the coulis: Put carrots, garlic, onion, vinegar, cayenne, salt, honey and broth in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until carrots are very soft, about 15 minutes. Purée all ingredients thoroughly in a blender and strain if necessary — it should be very smooth. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Coulis should not be too thick, but rather similar to a thin milkshake. Keep warm if not made ahead.
Step 2Prepare the scallops: Set 2 wide cast-iron skillets or a large griddle over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, film with olive oil. As oil heats and just before cooking, season scallops with salt and pepper on both sides. When oil is wavy, place scallops in pan without crowding. Leave scallops undisturbed to brown well and crisp on one side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, until cooked through, but juicy. Place scallops browned side up on paper towels to blot bottoms.
Step 3To serve, ladle about 1/4 cup warm coulis onto individual warmed dinner plates. Set scallops on top, browned side up. Sprinkle with cilantro, chives and sliced chiles. Serve with lime wedges.