Seared Scallops with Cumin Lime Sauce

I’ve been making this quite often this summer. My only reason for not posting the recipe sooner was that it is such a quick recipe, and the results so tasty, that I kept forgetting to take a picture before I started eating. And really, who wants to see a plate of half-eaten scallops and a fork?

With these scallops, I’ve (re)discovered cumin. Again. Its currently my favorite spice. It seems that everything to which it is added is enhanced! Its kind of a miracle spice. Cumin goes equally well with Indian veggies and curries, American chili, Mexican tacos, European soups, or in a rub for meats. Pair it with citrus (as it is here), with herbs (cilantro is its best friend, especially with Asian flavors), with smokey flavors (paprika, chili powder, garlic) . . . As far as I’m concerned, the possibilities are as boundless as your imagination. But I digress.

This super simple scallop recipe has quickly worked its way into my standard cooking rotation. Make it once and you’ll see why.

Seared Scallops with Cumin Lime Sauce

serves 2

  • 8 large sea scallops
  • lime juice from 1/2 a large lime (or a whole one if its small)
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water or broth
  • 1 tbsp. cold butter

In a small bowl, combine first set of ingredients and let marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Heat a non-stick skillet large enough to hold all the scallops in a single layer over high heat, adding about 1 tsp. olive oil. When oil shimmers (but before it starts smoking) gently place the scallops in the skillet. Sear on the first side for 1-2 minutes. Turn the scallops gently, and sear for an additional 1-2 minutes. You should get a lovely brown sear on each side, and the scallops should still be a little underdone at the centers.

Remove scallops from pan and set aside. Off the heat, deglaze the pan with the water and stir until all bits left in the bottom of the skillet are incorporated. Add the left-over marinade to the skillet. Finally, add the cold butter and stir until melted.

Serve scallops with sauce. I’ve taken to pouring the sauce into a little ramekin for dipping!

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