I like the combination of a sweet fruity sauce with seafood because usually the natural sweetness in a good quality fish, scallops or shrimp is complimented really well by a fruity sauce. Of all the variety of seafood, I think scallops are the sweetest in taste and when they are seared over a high flame, their natural sugars get caramelized and the fruit in the sauce brings out the flavor of the scallops. I add basil pesto on top to give the dish some color contrast and also basil adds a bit of zing to it. If you prefer, you can substitute the pesto with a drizzle of basil oil on top. The most important thing about cooking scallops is that they should be seared in a hot pan and while they are cooking in the pan, do not move them around or flip frequently – one flip is all they need. Also serve them immediately after taking them off the pan, or they get rubbery and hard.
1. 10 large even-sized bay scallops
2. Two small ripe peaches
3. 3-4 one square inch cubes of fresh cut pineapple
4. Two tablespoons of basil pesto or some basil oil
5. 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
6. ½ teaspoon of freshly grated ginger root
7. Salt and pepper to taste
8. 2 small shallots
9. 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
10. ½ tablespoon of sugar
1. Peel and thinly slice the two shallots
2. Also chop the two peaches in small chunks.
5. When the shallots get translucent, add the peaches and the pieces of pineapple and stir everything in the pan.
6. When the fruit looks a little softened, add the apple cider vinegar, a little salt, freshly ground pepper, ginger paste and sugar and stir. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes.
9. To cook the scallops, pat them dry with paper towels. Nowadays, most scallops are kept fresh by fish vendors in a liquid solution, so it is important to pat them dry thoroughly before cooking them.
10. Sprinkle a little bit of sea-salt and freshly grated black pepper over them.
11. In a large frying pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and heat it on high heat. Gently place the seasoned scallops in the hot pan. Do not move or flip the scallops in the pan until one side is completely caramelized (browned). You can use a pair of tongs to lift the scallops and see if they are seared on the underside (usually take 2-3 minutes in a hot pan).
12. While the scallops are getting cooked, place 2-3 tablespoons of the fruit sauce on a serving plate.
13. Flip the scallops and cook the other side till it is seared. Do not overcook the scallops – the inside of the scallops should still be pink when you remove them from the pan.
14. Place the cooked scallops on top of the fruit sauce and drizzle some pesto or basil oil on top of the scallops. Serve the scallops immediately (otherwise they get chewy and rubbery).