Have you tried chimichurri? It’s a condiment from South America used to accompany grilled meat, but it’s great with seafood, chicken, vegetables and mixed into rice. It looks like pesto, but don’t expect it to taste the same.
Chopped parsley is mixed with garlic, vinegar, olive oil and a little red pepper flake for a green tangy taste that improves the flavor of just about anything. We’re going to pair it with sweet scallops.
I encourage you to purchase your scallops from your local seafood shop or other source you trust. It’s scandalous, but sometimes the “scallops” are cut from shark or skate meat and not labeled correctly. You should see a little variation in size, shape and color. Scallops are often packed with sodium tripolyphosphate, an additive which causes the scallops to absorb water as they are frozen thereby increasing their packing weight. Scallops which aren’t treated that way are called “dry packed.” The “wet packed” scallops will release fluid as they are cooked and are considered inferior. It may take longer to brown the scallops because of the excess fluid. Purchase the best quality you can find. Regardless, I always drain whatever liquid the scallops are packed in and rinse them a couple times in clear water.
For this recipe, we’re going to pan sear the scallops so you’ll want to lay them out on a few layers of paper towel to make sure they are very dry before you put them in the hot pan.
This recipe for scallops and chimichurri will serve 2, and it’s perfect for impressing someone special. Serve with some fresh crusty bread, a nice glass of wine and a simple salad (Hint: try the chimichurri as a salad dressing or dip your bread into it.)
- 1 lb medium to large scallops (about 20 per pound), rinsed and dried well
- salt and pepper to taste
- oil for frying (olive oil is not the best choice for this as you want the pan to be really hot)
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped (either discard the large stems or chop them in small bits)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ - ½ cup of water
- red pepper flakes
- Drain and rinse the scallops and let them sit on some paper towel to dry while you mix up the chimichurri.
- Make the chimichurri by whisking the vinegar and olive oil together in a medium bowl. Add the garlic, salt and red pepper flake. Add the parsley and stir well to coat everything.
- Add water a little at a time until the chimichurri is a consistency that seems right to you. I deviated from the original recipe and made mine a little thicker than called for, but it was still very loose. For meat you may want it to be a little thicker and more robust like pesto.
- For the scallops, sprinkle the top and bottom with salt and pepper.
- Choose a pan large enough to hold all the scallops or cook them in batches. Place the pan on high heat and brush the bottom gernerously with oil.
- Carefully place each scallop in the pan. You should hear the hot oil protest as the scallops are added. It's better if you don't disturb them once they're placed, but if you move quickly you can make adjustments in spacing as necessary.
- Allow the scallops to cook for a couple minutes until they turn a nice golden color. Let them decide when they are ready to turn. If you rush it, they will cling to the pan. When they are ready to turn, cook the other side for a few minutes more.
Please share your chimichurri variations and how you use it in the comments. Enjoy!