Scallops with a Lime/Chile Sauce over Forbidden Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 small fresh hot chile (2 1/2 inches long, preferably red), chopped, including seeds
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 16 medium dry sea scallops (1 pound), tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
  • flour to dust scallops
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter (or raw, ulsalted butter)

Tools

  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Non-Stick Skillet
  • Tongs

Directions

  1. Pound garlic, chile, and sugar to a fine paste with a mortar and pestle. Stir paste together with vinegar, fish sauce, water, and lime juice. (Alternatively, purée sauce ingredients together in a blender.)
  2. Pat scallops very dry and lightly dust with flour. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil and butter in skillet over medium/high heat. Butter should just barely begin to smoke when ready. Place scallops, uncrowded, facing down and don’t move for about 2 minutes. Use tongs and check for a golden sear and flip if ready, cooking about another minute (2 at most) until done. The center should still be slightly translucent from the side, they will continue to cook once off the heat. They should be quite springy when done, if they are very firm they’ve overcooked.
  4. Serve scallops immediately with sauce spooned over.

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