Seared Scallop Sandwich with Lemongrass Infused Fresh Coconut and Dill Slaw with a Tamarind Turmeric Gravy
I was inspired by a fantastic Instagram post of a fried scallop sandwich with purple cabbage slaw. So today for lunch I decided to make my interpretation, with just a little South Asian flair.
I really went outside the comfort zone on today’s lunch recipe by only buying raw from scratch ingredients instead of anything canned or pre-made.
I wanted a sweet savory sauce, and tamarind in the king of that here in the Philippines. Instead of buying a block of tamarind paste, I made my own. It’s very simple really. I bought some pods, harvested the tamarind fruit inside and reduced it with some dark brown sugar, sweet basil , and turmeric. Ginger seems to be a common pairing with tamarind in Asian cuisine. Turmeric is in the ginger family, just without the same spiciness, so I made it a match. Please be careful when handling turmeric as it likes to dye everything neon orange. If you don’t wear plastic gloves and cover your cutting board, people will think you were attacked with a highlighter.
Tamarind and Turmeric Gravy:
- Tamarind paste
- Tumeric root
- Brown sugar
Using the aforementioned plastic gloves, peel the skin off the turmeric root using a vegetable peeler. Cut the turmeric into small pieces, you don’t have to be perfect, you will be blending them up later. Take my advice and immediately wash your knife and tools after peeling and cutting the turmeric. It is sticky and will stain them if left on. In a small saucepan place your tamarind paste and brown sugar along with a splash or two of water. Warm everything until it liquefies. Add the turmeric pieces along with the tamarind and brown sugar syrup into your blender and blitz. Place in a glass dish and add fresh basil leaves. Then refrigerate to thicken. And of course immediately wash your blender.
In keeping with the theme of the Dennis The Prescott’s Instagram post of pairing the fried scallops with the purple cabbage slaw, I decided to create a fresh coconut slaw. Instead of buying the coconut meat in a can, I went ahead and just bought a whole fresh coconut. 🙂 When I got home I cracked it open with a hammer. After draining the liquid I shredded the interior meat using a tool for making chocolate curls, but I think a fork or spoon would work just fine. I reduced several pieces of lemon grass in the creamy coconut milk and after it was infused with the aroma I strained out the tough lemongrass and added the juice to the shredded coconut. It took me a minute to come up with what herb to pair this with. I decided to go with fresh dill (just to be weird) and it really worked out well! I think lemongrass, coconut cream, and dill synergise surprisingly well together.
Fresh Coconut Slaw Infused with Lemongrass:
- Fresh coconut meat shredded
- Coconut cream
- Fresh dill
- Lemon juice
Strain coconut milk or cream from your freshly shredded coconut into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add pieces of lemon grass. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until the lemongrass is wilted and soft. Strain out the lemongrass. Recombine this juice with the coconut meat and add a splash of lemon juice as well as the fresh dill. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
Okay, last but not least the simple part.
- Large Scallops
Defrost scallops by simply placing them in a plastic bag. Place the sealed bag in a bowl of cool water. The delicate meat will defrost in minutes. While the scallops are thawing, heat a nonstick skillet to medium temperature and place aside a tablespoon of butter as well as a plate covered with a paper towel. Once defrosted gently rinse any grit from the scallops and place the butter in the hot skillet. As soon as it begins to brown, quickly but gently place your scallops into the skillet. Watch from the side as the color of the scallop meat changes to opaque white indicating the cooked areas. Flip the scallop the moment the surface texture begins to brown and sear. Repeat on the other side and remove from the pan onto a plate with the paper towel. Scallops literally take one minute to two minutes to cook depending on how high the heat. You can testing the doneness with your finger as you’re cooking to ensure that they don’t get too tough.
After you remove the scallops from the pan place a tablespoon of butter in it along with all that wonderful scallop flavor. Use this to toast the inside of your bread, grilled cheese style.
Okay that’s it a couple slices of tomato, then sauce up some that nice toasted bread. Place your scallops right in the middle, and slaw on top. For bread I would use a brioche bun or a Hawaiian roll. But seriously anything will work, the bread isn’t the star here, so don’t focus on it too much. I would eat this on Wonder Bread, because it doesn’t matter it’s delicious, so enjoy and have a great meal!