As summer approaches, I am digging through recipes that require no cooking. Scallop crudo is a perfect summer dish. It is elegant enough to impress dinner guests, yet simple enough to make just for yourself if you are in the mood.
Many cultures have a version of raw seafood. You may know sashimi, ceviche, tartar, carpaccio, poke, tiradito, the list is long… Crudo is an Italian dish of raw fish dressed with olive oil, sea salt, and citrus. Scallops are a great choice for a crudo as they have a smooth and silky texture and a very mild taste that pairs very well with citrus.
Ingredients and substitutions
Unless you live by the ocean and know your fishmonger personally, I strongly recommend using frozen scallops for this crudo. This guarantees their freshness. Just follow package instructions to thaw them. They can even be sliced while still a bit frozen.
You can use bay scallops or sea scallops. The main difference is in their size, but bay scallops tend to be silkier and sweeter as well.
If you don’t have all 3 kinds of citrus on hand (lime, lemon and orange), you can use just one or the other. Japanese yuzu is also an excellent choice.
You can substitute other herbs if you have no fresh mint. Basil or cilantro would be delicious as well.
If you have no Aleppo pepper, use red pepper flakes or a grind or two of black pepper. Or omit completely if you don’t care for any heat at all.
Choose your best tasting olive oil as it will really shine through in this dish. I personally only stock one: Partanna Sicilian extra virgin olive oil. It’s a multi-purpose mild tasting and versatile oil.
How to make it
You will need a very sharp knife! And please exert great caution when slicing the scallops!
To juice the lime, lemon and orange, I like my favorite gadgets: a citrus press and a citrus zester (microplane grater). But don’t fret if you don’t have any; you can do this the old fashion way, squeezing the juice with your bare hands and using an old fashioned cheese grater!
You can prepare these plates in advance an hour or two before eating. Omit the olive oil and add it only when you are ready to serve. Cover and refrigerate the plates until serving. Do not let them sit longer than a couple hours though, as the citrus juices are not meant to “cook” the scallops in this recipe (unlike ceviche, for example, where you let the fish marinate and “cook” in the juice).
Try this scallop crudo, it is truly out of this world! Serve it as an appetizer or a main course and adjust the quantities to your appetite…
Other recipes you might like:
- Slice the scallops very thin (about 1/8" thick). Spread the slices on 4 servings plates.
- Mix together lime, lemon and orange juice. Drizzle over each plate on top of the scallops.
- Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil on each plate.
- Slice fresh mint into thin strips.
- Top plates with mint and grated lime, lemon and orange peel.
- Add a pinch of Aleppo pepper and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving (in this case, drizzle the olive oil only when you are ready to serve)