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Pepper-Grilled Sea Scallops with Roasted Mexican Green Sauce

Pepper-Grilled Sea Scallops with Roasted Mexican Green Sauce

Large, luscious, diver-harvested sea scallops work particularly well when cut into slices; biting into a whole one would be almost too intense. And everything's better still if you can brown the outsides of the scallop slices in some way. The following recipe calls for a hot grill, or a hot pan (the latter choice recalling Paul Prudhomme's blackened redfish method), and a hot coating. Now, given the highly flavored crust and the full flavor of the scallops within, a strong-flavored sauce is appropriate. In this recipe, the cooked, pepper-encrusted scallops are paired with a Mexican sauce made of cooked tomatillos. The pepper on the scallops and the chilies in the sauce marry well. Use regular sea scallops if you can't find the diver-harvested ones. Serves 4 as a first course

SKU 956-Recipe

  • 4 Serves


  • 1/2 pound fresh tomatillos (about 6 medium), husked and washed
  • 1 large poblano chili
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • about 8 sprigs of fresh cilantro (including stems), chopped, plus fresh leaves for garnish
  • 2 serrano chilies, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1 pound sea scallops (about 28 scallops)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tablespoons very coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Roast the tomatillos on a baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into quarters.
  3. Meanwhile, place the poblano over an open flame and cook until charred on all sides. Place the poblano in a paper or plastic bag for 20 minutes, then peel off the charred skin. Remove the seeds, and chop the poblano.
  4. Place the tomatillo quarters, chopped poblano, onion, cilantro sprigs, and serranos in a blender, and blend to a coarse purée. Transfer the purée to a serving dish and thin to a medium-thick sauce consistency with about 3 tablespoons water, or more if needed. Season to taste with salt.
  5. Cut scallops into round slices, about 1/2 inch thick. Roll slices in the ground coriander, then in the cracked pepper. Grill over a hot fire, or sear in a cast-iron pan that has been heating over a hot fire for 10 minutes. Turn scallops once, and remove from heat when scallops are just cooked, about 1 minute per side.
  6. Serve the scallops hot on pools of the green sauce. Top with a little more green sauce, and garnish with the fresh cilantro leaves.