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Pepper-Grilled Sea Scallops With Roasted Mexican Green Sauce

The weather in Vancouver today was just lovely, lots of people were out strolling the parks and beaches. Well, when the sun is out, I guess it's time for some outdoor cooking using my grill. Earlier today, I had grilled some scallops and served it with a Mexican sauce made of cooked tomatillos.

Tomatillos is a close relative of tomatoes, but hardier. They are dense, highly seeded flesh, and are bursting with a distinctive tart, lemony flavor, and slightly acidic. They are great for salsa, sauces, and for salads too. Why not give the tomatillos a try? They're in season now, and at very reasonable prices!

Recipe adapted from The Dean & Deluca Cookbook

Pepper-Grilled Sea Scallops With Roasted Mexican Green Sauce


1/2 lb Fresh Tomatillos (about 6 medium), husked and washed
1 Large Poblano Chili
1/2 Cup Chopped White Onion
8 Sprigs of fresh Cilantro (including stems), chopped, plus fresh leaves for garnish
2 Serrano Chilies, seeded, and chopped
Sea Salt to taste

1 lb Sea Scallops (about 28 scallops)
2 1/2 Tbsp Ground Coriander Seed
1 1/2 Tbsp Very Coarsely Ground Black Pepper


Preheat oven to 450˚F.

Roast the tomatillos on a baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into quarters.

Meanwhile, place the poblano over an open flame and cook until charred on all sides. Place the poblano in a paper or plastic bag for 20 minutes, then peel off the charred skin. Remove the seeds, and chop the p0blano.

Place the tomatillo quarters, chopped poblano, onion, cilantro sprigs, and serranos in a blender, and blend to a coarse puree. Transfer the puree to a serving dish and thin to a medium-thick sauce consistency with about 3 Tbsp water, or more if needed. Season to taste with salt.

Cut the scallops into round slices, about 1/2 inch thick. Rolls slices in the ground coriander, then in the cracked black pepper. Grill over a hot fire, or sear in a cast-iron pan that has been heating over a hot fire for 10 minutes. Turn scallops once, and remove from heat when scallops are just cooked, about 1 minute per side.

Serve the scallops hot on pools of the green sauce. Top with a little more green sauce, and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.


  1. I've never heard of tomatillos, but they look interesting, sort of like unripe tomatoes! I wonder what they taste like? And I am keen to try scallops, they always look so delicious!

  2. Lovely presentation and wonderful flavours! I've never tried tomatillos but have seen quite a few recipes that use that...dying to try some.

  3. i love scallops... maybe i should try this recipe out if i have the time...

  4. I'll skip the shellfish but we love our "green salsa" around here. Finally our Save On Foods started to carry poblanos. Hooray.

  5. the correct spelling is "poblano".

    also, you might try cutting the tomatillos in half and placing them cut side down on the baking sheet. that gives them just a little bit of "char" that really adds a depth and smokiness to the salsa (but be sure to drain any of the juices from the cookie sheet into the sauce!).

  6. this looks amazing - I love both scallops and tomatillos! and the presentation is amazing.

  7. @Katie: They do look like unripe tomatoes but they don't taste the same. They have a very tart like flavor.

    @pigpigscorner: Do try making them :)

    @Cindy Khor: I love scallops too! Yes, do try making them.

    @Lori E: The salsa is good with grilled chicken too.

    @LiberalDemDave: Thanks for pointing out the wrong spelling. I have corrected the typo. Also, thanks for the tips! Will try it soon :)

  8. This sounds nice and simple and good!

  9. Another winner! A must try. You're going to make me look good in the kitchen!

  10. Sounds delicious! But tomatillos are not relatives of tomatoes at all. They're a completely different family: in fact, they are related to the ground cherry (those yellow berries with brown husks that are always on top of store-bought fruit tarts).
    Still, they're as delicious as you say.


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