Caramelized Scallops

Scallops are a shellfish, similar to clams and other bivalves. The part we typically eat is the muscle that holds the 2 halves of its shell together. The flash frozen scallops from Alaska are of excellent quality in my opinion. If you can find fresh scallops, make sure that they have been harvested only a day or two before you buy them. I find that the quality of the frozen scallop is generally better than the "fresh" scallops that have been sitting in the store for several days.

I actually started plating this dish before I started cooking the scallops. I started by placing 2 large fresh green leaf lettuce leaves from the garden on each plate. Next I placed about 1 cup of bean sprouts on top of the lettuce. From this base, I proceeded to cook and begin forming layers as described below.

This is both a hot dish and a cold dish. The lettuce and sprouts form a salad base. On top of this I place the hot egg noodles. I top the noodles with the hot caramelized scallops, onions, and asparagus. Finally I garnish the dish with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Delicious! And, it's a meal in itself containing vegetables, pasta and seafood.

  • 1 lb large scallops, thawed if frozen
  • 2 Tbsp. roasted sesame oil (dark)
  • 2 cups egg noodles, cooked
  • 2 green onions, French cut
  • 6 asparagus spears, French cut
  • 4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 12 sprigs cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced into half rings
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First, boil the noodles. Allow about 10 minutes for this.

In a skillet over medium high heat, sauté the sliced onion and garlic in the sesame oil for about 1 minute. Add the sliced asparagus and stir for about more 2 minutes. Remove asparagus and onion from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.

Note: You may add other vegetables in place of asparagus. I suggest sliced peppers for color, Chinese pea pods or a combination of your favorite produce. Also, you may mix equal portions of scallops and jumbo prawns for this dish.

Next, add the scallops to the skillet and allow to cook for about 2 minutes over high heat before turning them over with a pair of tongs. Add the balsamic vinegar, allow to cook 2 more minutes, and turn the scallops again. Allow to caramelize on the other side, about 1 to 2 more minutes. Do not overcook the scallops or they will end up dry and stringy. Return the onions and asparagus to the skillet and mix thoroughly. Also add the sliced green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 1 more minute. Remove scallops from skillet and set aside, leaving the pan juices in the skillet.

Finally, place the cooked egg noodles in the skillet and sauté until well coated with the pan drippings and sesame oil, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add a little more sesame oil if necessary. Place the sautéed noodles on top of the plated bean sprouts and top the noodles with the scallop and vegetable mixture. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
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