Pan-Seared Scallops with Swahili Sauce
- 2 Tbsp (25 mL) butter
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) turmeric
- Pinch saffron
- 1 28-oz (796-mL) can chopped tomatoes, drained
- 2 tsp (10 mL) tomato paste
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay
- 1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) cilantro, chopped
- 18 large sea scallops
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp (5 mL) orange zest
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
Makes 6 servings
This West African sauce is a rich combination of flavors–a result of much shameless borrowing from East Indian neighbors. We suggest exploiting the advice of our Thai friends and matching the creamy richness with an ice-cold lager, but a fruity, frozen concoction is also good. Serve over pasta for a complete meal.
- For the sauce, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-heat, add onion and cook until softened,approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, turmeric and saffron and cook for 1 minute longer. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and wine, bring to boil, then stir in coconut milk and cilantro. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pat scallops dry with paper towel and season with salt, pepper and orange zest. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Add scallops and cook until seared, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and sear second side, about 2 minutes.
- Spoon sauce onto small plates, top with 3 scallops per person and serve immediately.
Saffron, the world’s most precious and expensive spice, is the dried stigmas of the saffron flower (Crocus sativus). Each flower contains only 3 stigmas and must be picked by hand. It takes over 75,000 flowers to produce 1 pound (500 g) of saffron and in 2004, Iran, the world’s largest exporter of saffron, exported more than 147 tons of it.
Saffron is revered for its ability to turn sauces and rice dishes a beautifully bright yellow color while adding a subtle tea-like flavor. Its strong coloring power and intense flavor means that it can be used sparingly.