Are you looking for a special meal that doesn’t require a lot of effort? This is it. Roasting the garlic does take a little time, but the rest of the meal comes together super quickly and with minimal effort.
Sea scallops are one of my favorite foods because of their sweet flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. If they’re on the menu at a restaurant there is a 99% chance that that’s what I’ll be ordering. I just love them!
Making scallops at home is so easy though. You don’t have to rely on restaurants to enjoy these sweet morsels. Even if you’re not a very experienced cook, you can definitely make these. Just make sure not to overcook them. Their texture can quickly go from melt-in-your-mouth to chewy if you leave them in the pan too long. I like to use the stopwatch feature on my phone to make sure mine are perfectly cooked. You want a seared outside with a little crunch and a translucent center. Just watch the clock and you’ll be fine.
I chose to make this dish with a roasted garlic & beet purée because I love the combination of beets and scallops. They are both slightly sweet and the earthy taste of the beets compliments the scallops really well without being overpowering. Plus, I love the pretty deep red/purple color and the fact that they’re super healthy! Roasted garlic and cardamom give this beet purée a little extra depth of flavor, while still keeping it light, fresh, and sweet. Did you know that cardamom is also great for digestion? And it helps freshen your breath? This might come in handy if you make this for a special Valentine’s Day dinner 😉
This recipe calls for coconut cream to make the beet purée. If you can’t find it in a local grocery store, simply purchase a can of coconut milk and refrigerate it overnight. Then turn the can upside-down and open. Pour off the coconut water and what’s left is the coconut cream! Keep in mind that this method does not work with all brands of coconut milk. The best brands that I’ve found are Native Forest and Thai Kitchen. I like to buy the Native Forest brand because it’s organic and the can is BPA-free. Just make sure you get the full-fat coconut milk, not the light/lite version.
When buying sea scallops it’s best to buy them dry packed as opposed to wet packed. Wet packed scallops are soaked in a watery phosphate solution to make them more white and soak up water. This increases their weight, so you’re actually paying more money for fewer scallops. The increased water content also makes it really difficult to get that beautiful sear on the outside. Look for dry packed scallops instead to save money, avoid added chemicals, and ensure a nice crispy sear on your scallops.
- 1 lb large sea scallops
- 1 large head garlic
- 10 oz peeled, cooked beets (approx. 6 small beets)
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- ¼ tsp lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp ground cardamom
- ⅛ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 Tbsp butter or ghee
- ½ Tbsp avocado oil (plus a little extra for greasing pan)
- extra sea salt for seasoning
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Pat scallops dry and remove the small side muscle from each one if it's still attached.
- Lay them out on paper towels to dry even more while making the rest of the dish. In order to get a good sear, these suckers need to be completely dry.
- Lightly grease 1 slot in a muffin pan.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the top off of the garlic head (approx ½ cm) to expose the cloves.
- Remove the papery outer layers.
- Rub the exposed clove ends with a little avocado oil, then cover the top with a square of aluminum foil and place the clove in the muffin pan.
- Roast the garlic for 45-50 minutes.
- Remove garlic and allow it to cool.
- Blend beets, coconut cream, lemon juice, cardamom, and salt together in a food processor until smooth.
- Heat butter or ghee and avocado oil in a large sauté pan over medium/high heat. If using butter, skim off the milk solids as the butter heats up. This will help to mitigate any smoking that may occur.
- Lightly salt the scallops.
- Once the pan is hot, place the scallops in, one by one, making sure to leave a bit of space in between each one.
- Sear the scallops for 90 seconds on each side for large scallops and 60 seconds on each side for medium-sized scallops. Use tongs to flip them.
- If you need to make them in batches, make sure to add more butter/oil as needed. Just make sure you allow the pan to reheat between batches.
- Plate the scallops either on top of the purée or on the side.
- Scallops are best when served immediately.
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below!