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Seared Diver Scallops with Red Papaya, Honey Lime Sauce and Red Onion Salsa

Seared Diver Scallops with Red Papaya, Honey Lime Sauce and Red Onion Salsa

My contribution  to the “eat local” movement is  (surprise!) to buy more of the huge sweet scallops the divers bring in to the docks across the street.  I paired them with slices of Caribbean red papaya, a honey-lime sauce and pungent red onion salsa. Okay, so it’s not 100% local, but I did start out on the right foot!

There’s not too much to say about this dish, except that it was – can I say this about my own  cooking? – a spectacular triumph: taste, texture, interesting juxtapositions, color, all working together nicely. I loved it, and so did my dining partner. And, it’s simple to make: sear the scallops, simmer the sauce for a few minutes, slice the papaya, assemble.

This can be an elegant appetizer for a multi-course dinner or, as I served it, part of a casual, summery supper with a big garden salad and a fresh baguette for sopping up the sauce.

Seared Diver Scallops with Red Papaya, Honey Lime Sauce and Red Onion Salsa

Serves 4.

16 large diver scallops
2 T olive oil
1 C white wine
1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp minced garlic
2 T chopped tomato
1/4 C honey
4 oz butter
2 T lime juice
salt, hot sauce to taste
ripe red papaya, sliced

For the salsa:
4 T minced red onion
3 T minced parsley
1 T minced tarragon
1 T olive oil
1 T lime juice
coarse salt to taste
hot sauce to taste

Prepare the salsa by mixing all the ingredients. Set aside.

Wash the scallops and then dry them completely and carefully. Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot but not yet smoking, toss in the scallops. Cook on one side only, about 90 seconds, until they start to brown and caramelize at the edges. Remove to a side plate.

Reduce heat to medium high. Add the garlic, tomato and wine and quickly reduce by half. Add the honey and broth and simmer for a few minutes, stirring. Add the butter and swirl to melt. Stir in the lime juice. Season to taste, adding more lime juice if necessary.

To serve, arrange the papaya slices on the plates. Toss the scallops in the hot sauce and then add them to the plates. Drizzle sauce over the scallops and papaya slices and top with a dollop of the salsa. 


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Gorgeous photo. The scallops look and sound divine (oh do I love scallops). Just one little thing. Actually meant to mention this on your previous post, and now I see it's even more critical that I bring it up.

Ahem. I do believe that somewhere in the Rules Of Nice & Proper Food Blogging it clearly states that phrases such as "we live across the street from the docks!" (especially if such phrases end with an exclamation point) are, in fact, ILLEGAL. Because it's just not, you know, fair.

The Scallops looks almost sensual.. very very mouth watering

OMG, that looks and sounds totally spectacular. I just adore scallops and these look seared to perfection, plus the combination of tastes sounds sublime. And yes, I second the fact that mentioning getting fresh scallops at the docks across the road from your house is totally, utterly unethical and shouldn't be allowed ;-)

Stephen, just ignore all those jealous people. I for one love to live vicariously through your posts. And this one is particularly gorgeous.

Thanks for sharing.

I had almost given up on attempting scallops at home. They rarely delivered the flavor I was after and did not produce that beautiful caramelized crust I wanted. Then alas, a friend and professional chef educated me about wet vs. dry.

Wet scallops are commonly treated with Phosphates which is a preservative. When scallops are soaked in phosphates, they absorb water making them weigh more and thereby costing you more. (Take in mind, that you are paying for added water.) The absorbed water evaporates during cooking and, in turn, shrinks your scallops leaving them smaller, dry and somewhat tasteless. Furthermore, the added water does not let scallops brown properly during cooking.

Dry scallops are all wild and natural. They are not treated with any chemicals whatsoever. They are harvested directly from the ocean, shucked on deck, then immediately frozen on the boat to capture their quality. Dry scallops caramelize naturally during cooking to a golden brown color that is very attractive when serving.

Hi Ric...Thanks for your thoughtful and informative made me realize that Ive never addressed this issue on the blog and I will correct that. Where I live (Maine) the fish market must disclose whether the scallops are wet or dry and I never accept the wet ones. Also, since I live a few hundred yards from the docks we are able to get day-boat scallops, which come in freshdaily(not frozen) during scallop season. I guess this is one of the reasons I come back so often with scallop recipes!





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