Friday, August 8, 2014

Seared Scallops on Corn "Cream" – Not to Sound Corny, But This is Summer in a Bowl

This seared scallops on fresh corn “cream, ” shows that you can take a few seasonal ingredients, put them together simply and quickly, and with a little luck, and a very hot pan, produce something pretty special.  

There are three keys to producing sufficiently seared scallops. First, they must be perfectly dry. Second, the oil goes on the cold scallops, not in the hot pan. Third, your pan must be extremely hot, which means you have to use a very heavy, cast iron or stainless steel pan.

That bit of brown caramelization on the edges of the scallops might not look like a big deal, but it is. It’s a huge deal, and makes a tremendous difference in the final flavor. So, if you have the ways and means, I highly recommend you follow the procedure as shown.

As you’ll see, I used fresh white corn, but frozen will work in a pinch, although using that in August is almost a crime against nature, but let your conscience be your guide. Also, frozen corn is almost always yellow, and I really prefer the color of the white corn here. In any case, I hope you give this delicious, and very summery scallop dish a try soon. Enjoy!  

For 4 first-course sized portions:
For the corn “cream":
2 ears white corn
2 tbsp butter
salt to taste
1 cup chicken broth or water
pinch of cayenne
For the scallops:
12 large scallops
2 tsp high-heat vegetable oil (like canola or grape seed oil)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika, or to taste
1 tsp kosher salt
1 red fresno chili, sliced thin (I glazed my pepper rings in the hot pan with a slash of water, a small chunk of butter, and juice of 1/2 lemon)
radish sprouts to garnish



A recipe i've been trying (and failing) to do for about 15 years. I'm really grateful you actually made this, because now I know how to make scallops perfect, which I've struggled with. Thank you! :D

Lisa from Indiana said...

OK, that corn cream looks amazing and I can see pairing it with maybe some spicy chicken bites or even over some quiche. Here in Indiana, scallops are hopeless.

Also-"That's it for the vegan alternatives". Priceless.

Gerry Graham said...

I thought a red fresno was a fully ripened jalapeño. But wikipedia also talks about a green fresno. Are they the same thing?

Unknown said...

Looks absolutely delicious! What else can be done with the leftover corn cream? Since it seems like you only use a little for the dish

Lisa Stein said...

Looks delicious! I was wondering if I could use a rice strainer (I just got this since I cook a lot of rice and it allows me to easily wash it) instead of a mesh strainer? Thanks!

Chef John said...

Not sure what that looks like! If similar, then maybe!

I Tsao said...

Any side dish recommendations?

Chef John said...

This is really meant to be a first course or appetizer, so not really. If you do it as an entrée, the corn is kind of the side dish anyway. Enjoy!

brozuka a said...

Can't wait to try this one out

Cherry Bomb said...

I made this tonight for myself and my husband. We both loved it! But I think my stove might be hotter than most people's because the scallops cooked VERY quickly and I had trouble getting them dry beforehand. I went through loads of paper towels and they were still damp. But they were tasty and I LOVED the corn cream! My husband wants this again but with more stuff stirred into the cream, like broccoli crowns. Thank you Chef!

Pottersquash said...
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Pottersquash said...
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Tom Frymire said...

Chef John, this looks great! I take it that you don't think brining the scallops beforehand is necessary?

Chef John said...

Sorry, never even heard of brining a scallop before!

Comice said...

That turnip comment was just a joke, right? I'm trying to picture actually doing this with turnips and it doesn't turn out very well in my head.

... maybe potatoes?

Alicia said...

Wonderful! I haven't had scallops in over 30 years. We used to get the best scallops at this little seafood restaurant in Morro Bay, California. But then they closed down and ever since then I've told myself I'm going to try making scallops someday. This is such an easy recipe that I may just be ready to try! Thanks!