Pan-Seared Scallops with Four Sauces and Roasted Zucchini with Blue Cheese

I would say that I normally stick to less than fancy fare, but this is one of the most fun dishes that I’ve ever made. Sure, it’s a bit showy, but you gotta be decadent sometimes or life can get a bit boring. We ate these tasty little morsels standing up in our kitchen tapas style, interchanging the sauces on the scallops as we went with zucchini as palate cleansers. Still, either dish would be quite nice as a starter for a dinner party; they’re both able to stand up on their own just fine.

The roasted zucchini with blue cheese was put after each scallop to help completely wipe the flavor of the previous sauce before moving onto the next. Especially with the spicier sauces, the flavorful cheese cut the heat. Since Davis and I like our food spicy, we were partial to the Habanero Lime and Jalapeno Cilantro, respectively. However, the Creamy Lemon with Green Onion and Pistachio Crumble stood up to the test. All and all, this is a dish that could give a person a little culinary hubris.

Not going to lie, this might be the fanciest thing I’ve ever made.

We picked up some scallops from La Boqueria’s Maria Pilarin (who is, in my opinion, one of the best fishmongers in the market), along with some cilantro and one of the biggest jalapenos I’ve ever had the pleasure to buy. A fiery-red habanero rounded out the purchase, and trust me, that thing looked angry. We were originally looking for ingredients for tomato salsa, and stumbled upon the idea to whip up this fancy fare almost by accident.

What You’ll Need:

  • 12 scallops – cleaned from the shell
  • Habanero – 2 thin slices, minced
  • Jalapeno – 2 thick slices, diced
  • Cilantro – 3 tbsp, minced
  • Heavy cream – 1 cup
  • Green onion – 1 bulb, green parts only, thinly sliced
  • Garlic – 2 clove, minced
  • Pistachio – 1 cup, ground fine
  • Lemon – juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Lime – juice from 1 lime
  • Zucchini – sliced thinly
  • Blue cheese – crumbled
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Add zucchini slices to an oven ready pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper and then drizzle olive oil over the top
  3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes
  4. Take out of the oven, and add a crumble of blue cheese on top of each round
  5. Place back in the oven for round two, uncovered, for 10 minutes

Now that the zucchini is baking for the first time, this is when you should make your sauces. Place them in 4 small bowls.

Habanero Lime

  1. Combine 1/2 clove minced garlic, habanero pepper, pinch of minced cilantro, 1/8 cup of olive oil and juice from 1/2 lime.
  2. Stir in salt.  Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Jalapeno Cilantro

  1. Combine 1/2 clove minced garlic, remainder of the cilantro, and jalapeno in a bowl.
  2. With a pestle, grind the ingredients until the garlic is completely crushed and the jalapeno has released its juices
  3. Add a tiny bit of olive oil, just enough to coat the leaves and stir with a fork. Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Pistachio Crumble

  1. In a coffee grinder add 1 cup shelled and unsalted pistachios. Grind finely but not until dust like.
  2. Take pistachio mixture and place in a bowl. Add juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 of the sliced green onions, salt, pepper, and a glug of olive oil. Mixture should be wet, but not runny.

Lemon Cream with Green Onion

  1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, add 1/2 clove minced garlic, 1 cup cream, green onion, juice from 1/2 lemon, salt and pepper
  2. Cook for 15-20 minutes

At this point, you’ll need to take your zucchini out and add the blue cheese. Once the zucchini is in the oven for the second round and the sauces are in the fridge, it’s time to make your scallops:


  1. Over medium high heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a frying pan.
  2. Add scallops to pan in batches of 4-6, don’t overcrowd the pan and cook on each side for 2 minutes. Keep them moving occasionally so they don’t stick to the pan
  3. Remove from heat and place on a plate to rest

Now it’s time to plate, alternating one zucchini round with one scallop. Top each scallop with a different sauce. Be careful to not overload the sauces, as you want to still be able to taste the scallops.

If you’re not a huge fan of mollusks, these sauces are all fantastic on their own and would be at home in a variety of uses.


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