Seared Sea Scallops with Jalapeno Cream

*Photo updated March 2012*

Inspiration: Brandon and I love stopping at our favorite wine/beer/cheese store after work and perusing around, picking up a case of seasonal beer from a local brewery or a cold white wine for dinner that night.  But as for our regular grocery shopping, I’m not a huge fan, so I try to limit it to a quick trip once a week on an uncrowded weekday. Lately, I’ve been planning a fresh seafood recipe for my grocery shopping nights each week. Since you really need to cook fresh seafood on the day that you buy it, I used to avoid buying it and instead stocked up on frozen seafood. Planning seafood for my grocery shopping nights has been a great way for me to get more fresh seafood into our meal plans.

What we Loved: As always with Rick Bayless, this recipe definitely didn’t disappoint. He compares the sauce to a sort of Mexican alfredo, and I don’t think that I could describe it better. It’s spicy and garlicy, with the wonderful tomato flavors of a creamy Mexican salsa. Unlike other Rick Bayless recipes that I’ve prepared, this one is perfect for a weeknight because it only takes a minute or two to prepare (aside from marinating time). We really loved this dish served with fresh avocado slices, which were perfect topped with Kosher salt and dipped into the rich sauce.

Helpful Hints: The sauce in this recipe would really work well on just about any protein that you’d like. Rick Bayless recommends shrimp as an alternative, but I also think it’d work great on a pan-seared chicken breast or with a nice white fish like mahi-mahi. I also think that you could try this recipe with all different kinds of salsa (Rick Bayless has a good handful of Frontera varieties) to find which one that you like the best as the basis for the sauce.

Seared Sea Scallops with Jalapeno Cream
Source: Rick Bayless

I adjusted the ingredient amounts to serve two. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

8 large sea scallops
Juice of 1 small lime (about 2 tablespoons)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 bottle Frontera Jalapeño-Cilantro Salsa
1/4 cup cream
Fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Rinse the scallops, and place them in a bowl with the lime juice and a liberal sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Remove the scallops from the marinade and pat dry.

2. Heat a good pat of butter over medium high heat in a saute pan, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the scallops, making sure that they’re not crowded, which will cause them to steam instead of sear.  If necessary, cook the scallops in two batches. Saute the scallops until they’re browned on one side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and sear for only 2-3 minutes more. Remove the scallops to a foil-covered plate.

3. Return the pan to the heat and add the salsa. Stir for a couple of minutes to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir in the cream. Cook until heated through and thickened, and season to taste with salt.

4. Serve the scallops and sauce topped with cilantro.


7 thoughts on “Seared Sea Scallops with Jalapeno Cream

  1. This looks and sounds absolutely amazing. I’ve never thought of anything as a “Mexican alfredo,” but that sounds REALLY good. We aren’t huge fans of large scallops like this, but I think we might give this a shot with shrimp or something.

  2. We made this last Friday – the sauce was excellent! The avocado slices went really well with everything. We still have half a container of salsa, so we’ll probably try it again soon and substitute fish.

  3. wow. looks good! i gotta try this one. i’ve always liked chef bayless, he definitely has a great knowledge of the hispanic cuisine. thanks for sharing!

  4. This looks amazing! My husband has been asking me to make scallops again – it’s been years only because I just sort of forgot about them. I think I’ll make this when I bring them back into our dinner rotation!

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