Lime and Cilantro Scallops


Many years ago, I was a guest on a friend’s local television show and was asked a few personal questions to wrap up the segment. The host asked if my mother was a positive cooking influence in my life. Without filtering my thoughts, I said that my mom was an awful cook and had ruined my joy of eating scallops…oops! Although this was true, I profusely apologized to my mom and we still laugh about that moment.

Scallops are a lean protein source and easy to cook. However, overcooked scallops are inedible so it’s critical to be focused for the few minutes the scallops are on the stove-top. A perfectly cooked scallop is a bit translucent and creamy in the middle. This dish would make a lovely appetizer or light meal.

Cilantro Scallop

  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Your favorite tortilla chips- I like Xochitil corn chips
  • Garnish options- fresh lime juice, chopped fresh cilantro leaves, avocado slices, salsa or chopped tomatoes

Gently rinse the scallops, pat dry and remove the tough muscle on the side of each scallop. In a large bowl, toss the scallops with the lime zest, lime juice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat. When the oil is really hot, place each scallop in the pan with tongs and let it sit without moving for 2-3 minutes or until just cooked through. Turn over each scallop and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Place a warm scallop on each chip and top with your choice of garnishes.

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