This is our final New Year’s Eve dinner recipe for scallops! We had a wonderful time trying different ingredients to complement the scallops. The difficult part is finding fresh scallops which makes it challenging to continue our tradition. But our Spicy Scallops is a wonderful recipe where you can make the spice oil dressing ahead of time. We hope you are enjoying our New Year’s Eve Scallop recipe series!
Preparing the Spicy Scallops
My preference is to use fresh scallops over the frozen variety. Unfortunately the frozen scallops dramatically reduce in size when cooking them. Given the cost of scallops, we only purchase fresh. We start with trimming the side muscle from the scallops. Then gently rinse and dry each scallop. Do not skip the step of properly drying them since excess liquid can cause them to steam. Have all your ingredients ready since once you start to cook the scallops the process moves quickly. This includes your side dishes. Have them heated and ready to go! Unless you are great at quickly multi-tasking across dishes!
Making the Spice Oil Dressing
The Spice Oil Dressing can be made a week earlier. Just reheat before serving the Spicy Scallops. We start our dressing by grinding cumin seeds, paprika, red pepper flakes, peppercorns and Kosher salt. Grind to a fine powder in a spice mill. Transfer the spices to a small saucepan adding olive oil. Stir together the ingredients heating over medium-low heat. Cook until oil begins to simmer, 2–3 minutes. Scrape into a small bowl; stir in garlic and lemon zest. Let cool for 5 minutes, and then stir in lemon juice. If storing in the refrigerator, pour into an air proof container.
Making the Spicy Scallops
We start with heating olive oil in a large heavy skillet pan over high heat until the oil begins to smoke. While the oil is heating, season the scallops with salt and pepper. Place into the skillet and sear until well browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and finish cooking; about 30 seconds longer. Cook the Spicy Scallops until they reach 130°F internal temperature and the flesh is milky white, or opaque and firm. Immediately plate the scallops with adding the Spice Oil Dressing and fresh cilantro.
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- Spice Mill or similar tool to grind the spices
- Small saucepan with cover
- Large heavy skillet pan
Spice Oil Dressing Ingredients
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 6 Black Peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 2 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 tsp Lemon Zest
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 12 Scallops fresh
- Salt and Black Pepper freshly ground
- Fresh Cilantro
Spice Oil Dressing Preparation
- Grind first 5 ingredients to a fine powder in a spice mill or similar tool to grind the spices.
- Transfer spices to a small saucepan over medium-low heat; add olive oil. Cook until oil begins to simmer. About 2–3 minutes.
- Scrape into a small bowl; stir in garlic and lemon zest. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Add lemon juice.
Spicy Scallops Preparation
- Trim the side muscle from the scallops.
- Gently rinse and dry each Scallop.
- Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet pan over high heat until the oil begins to smoke.
- Season scallops with salt and pepper. Sear until well browned, about 3 minutes.
- Turn and finish cooking; about 30 seconds longer. Cook until they reach 130°F internal temperature and the flesh is milky white, or opaque and firm.
- Plate the scallops with adding the Spice Oil Dressing and fresh cilantro.