These Spicy Scallops with Pumpkin Puree are loaded with vibrant flavors - Easy and quick to prepare they make an impressive starter or main for any special occasion.
Confession time: I'm a HUGE pumpkin fan. And I love to come up with new ways to enjoy this delicious veggie (if you browse the blog you'll find tons of fun and tasty pumpkin recipes).
This time around I've paired it with some tasty and juicy seared scallops.
I'm a massive seafood & fish lover and I try to make sure my family and I get the recommended 2-portions per week. I don't always have time to go to the fishmonger, so I often rely on top-quality frozen fish.
Personally, I go frozen as much as I can. Stocking up the freezer with plenty of veggies and fish options saves me a lot of time (and money).
Plus, it helps me cut down on food waste, because you only use what you need and store back in the freezer the rest for later use.
Now, back to the recipe. Paired with a refreshing quinoa salad and a simple pumpkin puree, these seared scallops are fancy enough to be served as appetizer or main for a special occasion, but so easy and quick to enjoy on a weeknight dinner.
Ready in less than 30 mins, this spicy scallops recipe requires only 7 simple ingredients: pumpkin, frozen scallops, quinoa, yuzu or lime zest, shichimi and a bunch of basil and parsley leaves.
These frozen extra-large scallops are just as good as the fresh ones.
Make sure you allow them to thaw in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or until defrosted.
Once the scallops are fully defrosted, place them on a hot pan (I use a cast-iron skillet), and sear them for 1-2 minutes per side, until firm and cooked through.
Inspired by my recent trip to Japan, I've seasoned the scallops with shichimi, a common Japanese spice mix, to add a nice spicy kick and balance off the sweetness coming from the pumpkin.
Shichimi is available in any Asian food store, but if you can't find, simply season the scallops with a bit of chilli powder.
To add some contrast and a subtle tangy back-flavor, I've used a pinch of yuzu powder, a popular and rare japanese citrus, which can be easily substituted with lime zest.
I've deliberately decided to serve these scallops with a super simple pumpkin puree, and quinoa (for an extra nutrients boost), but you can opt for any other grains (basmati or venere rice, farro and barley are a few of my favorites).
Packed with nutrients and bold vibrant flavors, these Spicy Scallops with Pumpkin Puree make a lovely gluten-free starter and are sure to steal the show at your next dinner party!
Spicy Scallops with Pumpkin Puree
- 8 large frozen scallops, defrosted and pat dry
- a pinch of yuzu powder, optional
- shimichi, to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
For the pumpkin puree:
- 450 g pumpkin flesh, cubed
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
For the quinoa salad:
- 150 g quinoa, I used a mix of white and red quinoa
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon yuzu powder, or zest of ½ lime
- a bunch of fresh basil and parsley leaves, finely chopped
- Steam the pumpkin for 15 mins or until soft and tender. Season with salt, pepper and pinch of ginger to taste. Transfer in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve.
- For the quinoa salad, simply cook the quinoa in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water for 9 mins. Drain in a sieve or fine colander and cool down.
- Mix the quinoa with extra virgin olive oil, yuzu powder and basil & parsley. Season to taste.
- In the meantime, prepare the scallops. Pat the scallops dry with kitchen paper and season with sea salt, yuzu and shimichi.
- Heat a large skillet with olive oil and butter, then grill the scallops on each side for a minute on each side, or until they’re cooked through and crispy and golden. Remove from the pan and rest on a warm surface for 2 min.
- Serve the scallops on a bed of pumpkin puree with the quinoa salad on the side.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
***This post was originally published in September 2016 and updated with new info***