There is no doubt that seafood and zesty citrus flavours go together. There is also little doubt that cocktail recipes often call for lime. I decided to experiment a little with both.
First stop, Sydney Fish Market for some plump juicy scallops. They are relatively cheap: 6 for $5. Not bad considering you pay anywhere up to $20 for a 3 scallop entrée at a restaurant.
Some tips when buying scallops:
- Look for plump, moist looking scallops with white flesh.
- Try to get fresh ones with the roe off, saves time cleaning them.
- Ask if the scallops were “dry packed” to avoid paying for excess water that seeps out and causes stewing, rather than searing.
- If you haven’t already got some, buy the lot on the shell as it helps with fancy presentation later. Gently lift them off the shell before cooking.
- You can wash the shells and keep for another time.
- Keep on the lowest shelf in the fridge for up to 2 days, otherwise freeze them.
Now on to the dressing itself. It is basically a Caipiroska aka Caprioska which is a Brazilian vodka and lime based drink – the spelling seems to be a confusing regional variance. All you need to do is sear the scallops, drizzle with said cocktail – preferably not from own glass but made fresh and garnish.
So what’s the verdict on my experiment? Judging by the empty shells and smiling faces all around, I was right.
If you are having a cocktail party you might already have the ingredients, or the drink itself on hand. If you are not having a cocktail party but the idea sounds appealing, here is how to woo the crowd (or just self) with these delicious little treats.
- 6 scallops, roe off (+6 shells for serving)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp butter // cooking oil
- 1 lime, cut into quarters
- 2 tsp white or raw sugar
- 2 tsp water
- 5 tbsp vodka
- finely diced long red chilli, deseeded
- 6 coriander leaves
- Dissolve 1 tsp sugar in water.
- Muddle (squeeze and mash) whole lime wedges in a cocktail shaker or clean jar. Add vodka, sugar syrup and 1 tsp sugar.
- Cover with a lid and shake.
- Stand for a couple of minutes for the flavours to infuse.
- Strain into a pouring jug (use a small sieve).
- Place rinsed scallops on a clean surface, pat dry with paper towel and sprinkle both sides with freshly ground pepper.
- Heat butter // oil in a small frypan until bubbling – the pan should be very hot. Sear scallops on each side for about 90 seconds.
- Remove scallops from pan and place one on every shell. Drizzle with vodka lime dressing.
- Garnish with diced chilli and a coriander leaf each.
- Can be eaten with a cocktail fork, or served like oysters. Don’t forget to slurp the dressing!