Scallops are one of my clutch proteins when I crave seafood. They cook quickly, can be used in a variety of ways and are incredibly delicious. I almost always have two or three bags of them stashed away in the freezer. Unfortunately, it’s hard to come by fresh scallops in my neck of the woods, north of Toronto. Occasionally I’ll make the special drive downtown to St. Lawrence Market but most of the time I make due with what is available near me. Though they may not be as tasty as fresh, frozen scallops come in very handy when need be.
The weather is finally starting to cooperate here so I’ve been doing most of my cooking outdoors (as you may have noticed from my recent recipes). One way I love to prepare scallops is on the grill. If you can manage a hot enough fire, they sear beautifully in no-time-flat and are an absolute treat. Scallops, like shrimp, come in a variety of sizes. The ones pictured here are quite small and can be tricky to handle on the grill.
You can avoid losing stray scallops by skewering them or purchasing a grill tray like this one by Weber (trusted name in the BBQ biz). If you opt for the former method, I recommend investing in a set of stainless steel skewers like these ones here. They are reusable, don’t need to be soaked before grilling, and will last forever – so long as you don’t bend them beyond repair. The ones pictured are older than I am! They also work with everything from chicken, to lamb, to beef – not just scallops!
Lately I’ve been playing around with herbaceous sauces and really love this play on a salsa verde. It goes really nicely with the sweetness of the scallops. If you are one of those wacky folks that doesn’t like cilantro, we can no longer be friends. Just kidding! I still love you. Try replacing it with parsley if that’s more your jam. Either way, you’ll want to serve everything over a bed of crispy, diced yams. Try your best to find white-fleshed Asian (Japanese or Chinese) yams, as opposed to the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes you may be used to. They get really crispy and have a different flavour profile – my absolute favourite carb!
A Quick Note on Buying Scallops
I’ve recently read more and more horror stories on the global fishing and farming practices, particularly in Asia and South East Asia (places like Vietnam, Thailand and China). I’ve made a concerted effort to reduce my carbon footprint when it comes to seafood – the same practice I preach for almost all produce and meat. I encourage you to do the same if you can. Locally-sourced seafood is always your best bet but if that’s not available to you, go for whatever is nearest. One of the ways to find out where things come from is to speak to your fish monger. They’ll likely be more than happy to help.
Give these recipe a go and let me know what you think in the comments below!
Scallops with Salsa Verde
1 package of 20/30 scallops
1 large Japanese yam – peeled and diced
salt n’ peppa
drizzle of avocado oil
fresh basil for garnish (optional)
for Ronny’s Salsa Verde:
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 jalapeño – finely chopped (optional)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp organic maple syrup (omit if doing Whole30)
salt n’ peppa to taste
1/2 cup avocado oil (bc EVOO will overpower the flavour of the scallops) – plus extra for grilling scallops
for Ronny’s Salsa Verde:
- Add everything to a bowl and stir. Cover and set in the fridge until ready to serve.
for the crispy, diced yams.
- Preheat a non-stick skillet to medium heat.
- Peel and dice yams. Heat 1/4 cup avocado oil in the pan and add the diced yams.
- Fry until crispy on the outside and fork-tender in the middle (approximately 15-17 minutes)
for the Scallops:
- Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high heat.
- Rinse and pat-dry the scallops. Drizzle with avocado oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay the skewers flat on a board and skewer them widthwise. Drop the heat to med-high and grill scallops for 2-3 minutes per side or until nicely seared.
- Lay the yams on a serving platter, top with grilled scallops and spoon salsa verde overtop. Garnish with fresh basil to make things look fancy!