I'm slightly addicted to Trader Joe's Tomato-less Corn and Chile Salsa. A jar of the stuff is lucky to last more than a day around here as it's consumed with all sorts of foods, from standard tortilla chips to crackers, sandwiches, and even fish.
Armed with the last vestiges of a jar of the stuff, I decided to treat Mike to a nice, tasty meal of scallops with salsa. I also had a bit of avocado on hand to further bolster the salsa topping for my scallops and make a complete meal of it.
Though the salsa itself is pretty simple (chop avocado and mix with Trader Joe's salsa), preparing scallops is not always such an easy task which is why I decided to post the recipe for this dish. I love scallops but have definitely been disappointed by my fair share of under- and over-cooked scallops. Having worked in a restaurant preparing these little guys, I'm (finally) fairly confident in my abilities to perfectly cook a scallop. The trick - getting the pan nice and hot before placing a single scallop in it and doing a simple stick test.
As with most fish, it is easy to overcook scallops, but often in the struggle to achieve the perfect degree of doneness, an undercooked meal emerges. With scallops, and pretty much any other fish you pan-fry, the most important aspect is temperature. The fish shouldn't be too cold, but rather room-temperature when it goes into the pan. And that pan needs a few minutes of heat before oil or fish are to be added. Room-temperature fish and a warm pan make for the perfectly cooked fish - just flip it as soon as it stops sticking to the pan. A sticky fish just needs a little more time to finish cooking before it should be flipped to the opposite side or served.
5 Spice Scallops with Avocado Corn Salsa
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb U-10 scallops
- 2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice Powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup Trader Joe's Tomato-less Corn and Chile Salsa
- 1 avocado
1. Warm pan over medium high heat.
2. Remove feet from scallops (the small strand of meat that wraps around the side of the scallop) and dry the scallops with a paper towel. Season with salt, pepper, and Chinese 5 Spice.
3. Add a few rounds of olive oil to the pan and place scallops in the pan, seasoned-side-down. Season the reverse side of the scallops.
4. Meanwhile, chop avocado and combine with corn salsa. Set aside.
5. Check scallops for doneness after 4 to 5 minutes. They should no longer be sticking to the pan when they are ready to turn. Cook other side another 4 to 5 minutes until slightly springy to the touch.
6. Plate scallops and serve with salsa. Enjoy!