This delicate, elegant dish is also surprisingly easy to make. I stumbled on adding the peanuts because I wanted something crunchy that would offset the soft, voluptuous nature of the sea scallops yet still echo their buttery flavor. This is a dish in which you really have all the basic tastes of salt, sour, hot and sweet.
Technique tip: Just like with cooking meat, make sure to pat scallops dry before searing. They exude a lot of moisture, so using a paper towel will help ensure a nice crust on the surface of your scallop. You can chop up the cucumber and tomato relish beforehand and keep it in the fridge, but don't mix in the peanuts until you are ready to dress the scallops, as they will get soggy.
Swap option: If you don't have dried mango powder, you can use sumac, or even skip it and just slightly increase the lime juice in the relish.
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup finely ground, dried breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons dried mango powder (amchoor)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 pounds fresh sea scallops
- 2 cups peeled and diced English cucumbers
- 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped red and yellow heirloom tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (or crushed in a mortar and pestle)
- freshly ground black pepper
In a large glass bowl, mix flour, breadcrumbs, mango powder, cayenne and 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt.2.
Wash the sea scallops and gently pat them dry with paper towels.3.
In another big bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, 1¼ teaspoons of sea salt, brown sugar, dill and lime juice.4.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. While waiting, drop each scallop in the flour mixture, lightly coating all sides.5.
Sauté the scallops over medium-high heat until they are browned on all their surfaces and cooked through; this should only take about 4-5 minutes. If you're using smaller scallops, cook for 3-4 minutes. Just before serving, stir the peanuts into the cucumber relish.6.
Put the scallops on a serving plate and place a generous ladleful of the relish over them. Grind a generous amount of black pepper over the top. Serve immediately.