I am making Asian pork lettuce cups this week. The filling for lettuce cups is meat heavy with a deeply flavored sauce. I wanted my second dish to be simple and elegant. Last week, I made Szechuan salt & pepper shrimp and it was so popular Jan wanted something similar this week. Anyone for Szechuan salt & pepper scallops?
Last week’s dish was made with grilled pearl onions and crimini mushrooms. To make a change, I switched to green onions and oyster mushrooms. Some people might be tempted to put a sauce on this dish, but that would only bury the natural flavors of the scallops, Sichuan pepper, onions, and mushrooms. A few ingredients tasting only of themselves.
Karl’s Szechuan Salt & Pepper Scallops with Oyster Mushrooms
1 lb. large sea scallops, raw
⅔ lb. oyster mushrooms
15 green onion, separate uses
¼+ cup peanut oil, separate uses
2 tsp. Szechuan Salt & Pepper
1. Rinse and pat the scallops dry, set them on a plate and cover them lightly with a paper towel in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Tip: The secret to getting a good sear on delicate sea food is for the surface to be as dry as possible when it hits the hot pan. Any moisture will cause the seafood to steam rather than sear.
2. Trim and brush the mushrooms.
Tip: Split any large mushrooms. Ideally they should be close to the same size.
3. Rinse the green onions, cut off and leave the white parts whole, set aside separately.
4. Slice about a third of the green parts of the onion finely and set aside separately.
5. Cut the remaining green parts of the onion into 2 inch pieces and set aside separately.
6. Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet.
7. Preheat the pan, over high heat, until the oil is shimmering.
8. Add the scallops to the pan in a single layer and brush the tops with peanut oil.
Tip: Scallops are like a wheel with two flat sides. You want to place each scallop with one flat side down on the surface of the pan. Hopefully, your scallops will be dry enough and your pan hot enough to get a good sear on the meat.
9. Sprinkle half of the Szechuan Salt & Pepper over the scallops.
10. Cook the scallops, without stirring, for 3-4 minutes.
11. Flip the scallops and sprinkle with the rest of the Szechuan Salt & Pepper.
12. Cook the scallops, without disturbing, for two to three minutes more.
13. Transfer the scallops to a plate and set aside.
14. Deglaze the pan with a tablespoon of water.
Tip: Pour the remaining liquid onto the plate with the scallops.
15. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering.
16. Add the mushrooms and white pasts of the onions to the pan.
17. Sauté the mushrooms and onions, until they start picking up some color, about 3-4 minutes.
18. Return the scallops to the pan and add the 2 inch green onion pieces.
19. Toss the contents of the pan, and sauté for one more minute.
20. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the finely sliced green onion.