Excerpted from Ayesha’s latest cookbook, The Full Plate. Get all of the recipes by purchasing a copy here! Photography by Eva Kolenko.
Though I love the simplicity of a butter-seared scallop served with a squeeze of lemon and nothing else, this recipe comes together almost as quickly and delivers a big punch of flavor with very little effort. Unless you are very spice adverse, don’t skip the slices of jalapeño; their heat is tempered by the honey and the mild scallops. I feel like I’m doing my best Nobu impression when I make this dish. It’s perfect for a sexy spicy date night in.
Sweet & Spicy Scallops
1 pound large sea scallops (12 to 16), tendons removed
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp unseasoned rice wine vinegar
10 paper-thin slices jalapeño chile
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp grated lemon zest (reserve half a lemon to squeeze at the end)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Place scallops on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a double thickness of paper towels. Place a second double thickness of paper towels on top and press gently to blot liquid. Let scallops sit at room temperature for 10 minutes while the towels absorb moisture.
Season the scallops on both sides with salt. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook, turning once, for 2 minutes on each side, until the scallops are opaque and lightly browned. Transfer to a rimmed platter and tent with foil.
- Stir the honey, soy, vinegar and jalapeño together in a small bowl. (If your honey is cold and proves difficult to mix with the other ingredients, warm it briefly in the microwave.) Add the mixture to the now-empty skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in the butter, followed by the cornstarch, and cook, whisking, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon zest and juice, then pour the sauce over the scallops. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon.