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Seared Scallops with Sweet Fish Sauce

Seared Scallops with Sweet Fish Sauce

Seared Scallops with Sweet Fish Sauce

Scallops o’ thick, juicy, fresh scallops.  In Melbourne, we’re blessed with the availability of big juicy scallops.  I think scallops are such delicious and sophisticated seafood which can be easily whipped out for a party or just for your family to enjoy within a short time and they’ll be impressed. Simple seared scallops with pepper and salt tastes as good.

I’m not sure how many of you have this problem but the trouble with me was no matter how many times I’ve seared scallops, I just couldn’t figure out what the hell is wrong with my scallops. Was it my technique? My pan? My scallops? Or was the fire not right? My scallops will turn out extremely wet and there will be so much water in the pan.  It just won’t brown!  The outcome of my seared scallops were no where close to the restaurant’s.  That was so mind boggling! What have I done wrong?!?!

Seared Scallops with Sweet Fish Sauce

After much googling, I figured the problem lies with my scallops – for being “wet-packed” which means they have been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate.  This treatment causes the scallops to absorb moisture prior to the freezing process and that’s how they became fat and juicy.  Whereas, most restaurants use scallops without any additives called “dry-packed” scallops.  “Dry-packed” scallops are not as easy to find as “wet-packed” scallops.  But wait – there’s a solution to this problem, all thanks to SheKnows, we just need to rinse out the additives with a good brine.

To make the brine, just combine 1/4 cup of lemon juice with 2 tbsp salt and 1 cup of cold water. Stir to dissolve the salt and put in the scallops.  Leave it to brine for the next 20 minutes.  Rinse with cold water and pat dry.  Some people complaint that the scallops end up being too salty but do adjust the timing – it’s all about test and error 🙂  There you go – and now, we’re ready to cook these babies!

Seared Scallops with Sweet Fish Sauce (adapted from Benjamin Cooper’s Chin Chin the Book)  

Serves 4

8 scallops
1 tbs sweet fish sauce (recipe here)
1 tsp kaffir lime zest
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp sriracha chilli sauce
1/2 tsp crispy shallots

1. Remove sweet fish sauce from the fridge and gently warm it. Add kaffir lime zest and set aside.

2. To prepare the crispy shallots, slice the shallots thinly.  Fry them in a wok with medium-heat oil until the slices are golden brown.  Watch the fire constantly, else, the shallots will brown unevenly and burnt.  I like to add a pinch of salt right before I turn off the fire as that maintains the crispiness. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread over absorbent paper to remove as much oil as possible. Set aside if you want to use within the day or store in an airtight container for use in the next few days.

3. Pat scallops dry and season scallops with salt & pepper.  Heat oil in a frying pan to hot. Place the scallops and sear on each side for about 10 seconds and then turn over and sear for another 10 seconds.  If the scallops are thick, allow a few more seconds before turning.  Remove from pan.

4. Gently place the scallops on the plate or serving spoons.  Spoon some sweet fish sauce over the scallops, tip some sriracha and crispy shallots on the scallops.  Serve.


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