Saturday, April 04, 2009

Grilled Sea Scallops with Paprika and Cilantro Salsa

These Grilled Sea Scallops with Paprika and Cilantro Salsa were one of the best things I've cooked for a long time!

Scallops are one of those things I love to order in a nice restaurant, and actually I'd been eating them for years before I ever ventured into cooking them. That changed when my beloved Costco started carrying good quality frozen sea scallops at a reasonable price. I quickly learned there are two secrets to making scallops taste great: cook them quickly at high heat and be very careful not to overcook. Anything else you do to bump up the flavor is just a plus.  These Grilled Sea Scallops with Paprika and Cilantro Salsa were one of the best things I've cooked for a long time; hope you enjoy!

I used the same fantastic grill pan I use to make grilled asparagus and grilled mushrooms to cook these scallops. (There's a photo of the pan with those recipes if you're curious about it. It's a wonderful way to cook things that might slip through the grids on your barbecue grill.) If it's too early for outdoor grilling where you are, you can make the scallops on a stovetop grill pan.

Grilled Sea Scallops with Paprika and Cilantro Salsa
(2 servings, recipe for salsa adapted from this Cilantro Salsa recipe from East Bay Crab and Grill.)

8-10 large sea scallops, thawed if frozen
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp. paprika or smoked paprika (I used smoked paprika, but any good quality paprika will work)

Salsa Ingredients:
1/2 bunch cilantro (I would remove more of the stems next time, but I was using cilantro I had left over from another recipe!)
1 green onion, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 T olive oil
2 T water
1/2 tsp. Green Tabasco Sauce (or use your favorite hot sauce)
pinch salt, or more to taste

Preheat gas or charcoal barbecue to high heat (you can only hold your hand there for a second or two.) If using grill pan, sit it on grill and let it heat while you prepare salsa. (The scallops were large enough that they could have been cooked directly on the grill, but using the grill pan made it a little easier. You could also put your scallops on wooden skewers to make them easier to handle on the grill.)

Remove thawed scallops from refrigerator and pat dry with paper towel. Put scallops on a plate. Combine olive oil and paprika in a small bowl and rub each scallop on both sides with oil/paprika mixture. Let scallops come to room temperature while you prepare salsa.

Remove cilantro stems and wash leaves and drain, but do not spin dry. In food processor with steel blade, chop cilantro and green onions together until both are finely chopped. Add vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, water, Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce, and salt. Pulse a few times, until mixture is well combined.

Put scallops into heated grill pan or on grill top and cook about 3 minutes per side, until scallops are starting to get firm, but are still slightly springy when pressed with a finger. Be very careful not to overcook; if your grill is especially hot, it could take less time than this.

Serve scallops immediately with some of the cilantro salsa drizzled over each.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Scallops cooked like this would be a great main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. This would taste great with something like Cucumbers Caesar or Grilled Zucchini for phase one. For phase two or three, add something like Curried Rice and Red Lentils or Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad.

More Great Recipes for Scallops:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients)
Sauteed Scallops with Garlic from Kalyn's Kitchen
Warm Scallop Caesar Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen
Seared Scallops with Wine-Braised Leeks from Stephen Cooks
Grilled Scallop and Maui Onion Salad from Gastronome
Baked Scallops with Creamy Spicy Sauce from Rasa Malaysia
Sun Gold Tomatoes with Tarragon, Seared Scallops, and Brown Butter from White on Rice Couple
Pan-Fried Scallps with Carmelized Onions and Spinach from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
(Want even more scallops recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

(This recipe was updated and added to Recipe Favorites, April 2009) 

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  1. Kalyn, hi!

    Those scallops looks scrumptious! Wickedly tempting. Can't wait for my Hunter Gatherer to start diving! :)

  2. What a lovely recipe! I love scallops but have never cooked it at home. Perhaps it's time.

  3. Oh wow! oh wow! I love scallops too and the paprika cilantro salsa sounds delish. I have never made scallops at home either but now i am motivated to try this recipe out!

  4. I love scallops, too but have never tried grilling them.
    They tend to be quite expensive here, and not very large.
    Those look fabulous, such a wonderful color!

  5. Kalyn, scallops are special to me, too - the night we got married I had the best scallop's I've ever had. I still remember them 26 years later! It was simple - they were wrapped in bacon and grilled. To this day that's my most favorite way! Thanks for the tip on Costco - I'll have to go get some.

  6. Yes, I really enjoy scallops in restaurants but attemps at home have been questionable...I really should try them again. You certainly make it sound doable. Lovely photo.

  7. Scallops, cilantro, smoked paprika -- sounds absolutely perfect.

    I can't wait to make this. My last scallop dish was way too fussy and a tragic waste of my absolute favorite food.

  8. Hey Kalyn,

    That's a great recipe. I can't wait to try it. I agree with you on the wonder of wholesale stores. Good gourmet products for back-alley prices!

  9. Great recipes.. I'll be back.They are making me hungry just reading them..

  10. These look great - but a word of warning on frozen scallops: you do need to find good quality ones (like you seem to have done) - I've had them before where they are soaked in water before freezing, meaning you are paying through the nose for... ice! When they defrost, they shrink in size...

    I love scallops with good quality Spanish ham...

  11. I have actually never had scallops! I am sure I would love them. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will have to try it!

  12. Kalyn, I love scallops & cilantro is also a very favorite herb of mine. Looks divine! Cheers!

  13. Oh wow - you know how to make a cilantro lover happy! I can't wait to dig into some of these.

  14. These look fantastic! I have never been brave enough to make scallops at home...too scary. Great recipe!

  15. Love Scallops! I've only cooked them once, but I think this recipe is an excuse to do them again... soon!

    Thanks for the post!

  16. I love scallops and am always looking for new recipes. Thanks for this. :)

  17. Gorgeous Scallops!!! Never try this way... may be should try it! :)

  18. I did try your recipe, and you are a culinary genius. My wife loved them and I looked like quite the hero. Thanks

  19. The scallops look so delish. I'm going to serve them Fri. for a dinner party. Also, I'd like to see more casseroles.

  20. Glad people are liking this. Most important thing is not to overcook the scallops! They cook really fast.

  21. wow, that looks absolutely phenomenal! I'm definitely going to get some scallops next time I go to Costco!

    Question: If I don't have a grill, you think the scallops will do well pan-fried?? Hmm, the only other fancy gadget I have is a George Foreman grill... would that be ok??

    Thanks a lot Kayln!

  22. Maddy, I have cooked scallops in a pan with good results. I think a GF grill would work too.

  23. I love scallops very much, but I may never try these lovely scallops as this wonderful photo!

  24. Thank . This article is good ^^

  25. woww.. great recipe! :) Thanks for sharing buddy.. keep posting

  26. Kalyn, I just made these scallops tonight. Absolutely fabulous!! I used sriracha sauce in place of the green tabasco and, oh my!! I'm heading to the grocery store tomorrow to buy more scallops to deliver that amazing salsa....


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