Thai-Style Seared Scallops With Cucumber-Pepper Relish

Course : Seafoods
Serves: 4
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1 piece lemongrass stalk - sliced thin crosswise
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 medium cucumbers
1 medium 1 banana pepper -- seeded and minced
1 medium red seranno or jalapeno chile pepper -- small -- seeeded/minced
2 teaspoons cilantro - minced
2 teaspoons basil fresh - minced
2 teaspoons mint -- fresh - minced
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper - ground
1 pound sea scallops
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper - ground
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation / Directions:

For the relish: peel the cucumber; cut it in half lengthwise, seed it and slice it thin crosswise. Bring first 4 ingredients plus 1/2 cup water to boil in a nonreactive saucepan; simmer until liquid reduces to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Strain mixture into a nonreactive bowl and cool it lightly; discard solids. Stir in next 7 ingredients plus 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Sprinkle scallops with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding and adding remaining oil as necessary, saute scallops, turning once, until seared, about 2 minutes. Spoon a portion of the Cucumber-Banana Pepper Relish onto each plate. Arrange a portion of scallops over the relish and serve immediately. Makes 4 appetizer servings.

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