Moroccan-Spiced Scallops With Lemon Grape Relish

Fall 2015

Executive chef C.J. Cucciniello of Canyon Gate Country Club in Las Vegas shares his recipe for quick-seared sea scallops dressed in an intriguing spice combination of cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and turmeric. A dollop of cool Lemon Grape Relish makes it elegant and refreshing.

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/2 pounds large all-natural,
dry sea scallops,
side muscles removed
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon Grape Relish
(recipe follows)

In a small bowl, combine the cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Season them liberally with salt and pepper and coat them with the spice mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is smoking slightly. Add half of the scallops and cook, turning once, until seared on the outside but still translucent in the center, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the scallops to a warm plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and scallops.

Serve the scallops with the Lemon Grape Relish.

Yield: 6 servings


1 large lemon
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 cups seedless green grapes,
quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

Zest the lemon skin. Cut the remainder of the whole lemon in quarters and reserve to squeeze over completed dish. Place lemon zest in a small saucepan and combine with water and salt. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook about 10 minutes until the liquid reduces to about 1 tablespoon. Drain the liquid and lemon zest through a fine strainer, rinse the zest, and pat it dry. Finely mince the zest and combine it in a medium bowl with the grapes, olive oil, scallions, cilantro, and mint.

CHEF’S TIP: “Look for fresh scallops that are dry-packed, white in color, slightly firm, and uniform in shape.”


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