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Sea Scallops with Jalapeno-Grapefruit Marinade

We eat a good share of seafood at our house and I have a vast array of recipes. I’ve recently developed a fondness for well-prepared scallops. This recipe utilizes a delicious (and not too spicy) marinade. (For those looking for an extra little kick, try adding a dash or two of cayenne to the marinade.) Scallops are quite the little sponges and sop up this goodness very well. After the marinating time, you can either put them on the grill, or simply sear them in a heavy pan on your stove, as we did this time. This marinade works equally well with shrimp.

Sea Scallops (or Shrimp) with Jalapeño-Grapefruit Marinade

This will serve 4, or 8 as appetizers (Halve the recipe for 2)

  • Grated zest of 1 grapefruit
  • Juice of 2 grapefruits (about 1-1/3 cups, and pulp is fine)
  • 1/4 cup minced jalapeño chilies (WITH the seeds!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/3 cup dry vermouth
  • 3 Tbl. olive oil, plus more for brushing for the grill
  • 16 large sea scallops, tough bits removed, and rinsed well (or 16 shrimp)
  • Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper (white, if you have it)

If grilling:

If you’re going to be grilling the scallops, soak 8 bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes or so.

To prevent the scallops from sliding too easily off the skewers into the coals below, plan on using 2 soaked skewers per kebob. Run one skewer into 4 scallops, off-center. Run a second skewer down the same bunch of scallops, to the other side of center.

Stir all the marinade ingredients together in a non-reactive baking dish large enough to accommodate the skewered scallops. Place scallops into the marinade and let soak for a minimum of one hour, a maximum of two. (If you’ve got extra big scallops, or if you like that extra little hit of heat, I’d let them soak for the two.)

Prepare your grill. When the coals are hot, lower the grate to lowest level and get it good and hot. Brush the scallops with vegetable oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Brush the grate with vegetable oil. Grill scallops for about 3 minutes on each side. Because they’ve soaked up all that marinade, they won’t get quite as brown as you expect, but they should have grill marks.

If not grilling, but searing instead:

Pour the marinade into a sealable gallon-size plastic bag. Drop the scallops inside and seal to close. (I prefer this method for marinating almost always. It’s least messy and seems to do the most consistent job of delivering all the flavors.) Drain the scallops in a colander. Place a heavy pan on a medium-hot stove. When the pan is hot, add a thin drizzle of oil and a dot or two of butter, and as soon as it’s melted and thinly covering the bottom of the pan, drop in your scallops. (Be sure the pan isn’t too crowded or the scallops won’t sear properly.) Leave them undisturbed, probably about 3 minutes, until they’ve acquired a nice brown glaze, then turn and cook ’til done, another 2 or 3 minutes. (They’ll no longer be translucent in the center when done.)

(This recipe, only slightly adapted, was drawn from The Cook’s Essential Companion FISH Without a Doubt by Chefs Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore. It’s a wonderful resource.)

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For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I tried this last night and was delicious served with some cous cous, however I have to admit I hated wasting the marinade! So, I reduced it down with a small knob of butter and a dash of cream, then served over the scallops and cous cous… heaven 🙂

    February 1, 2012
  2. Lesley, brilliant idea with the marinade! Love that, and will follow suit next time! 🙂

    February 1, 2012

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