This scallop recipe blends the flavors of both Southeast Asian and Italian cuisines. The sauce, served over orzo, combines butter, tomatoes, lime juice and zest, fish sauce and a pinch of sugar for a distinctive flavor that’s citrusy, salty and buttery all at once.Print
Scallops in Tomato-Lime Butter Sauce
This recipe borrows a little from both Thai and Italian cuisines to create a tomato-butter sauce that’s full of lime flavor, buttery richness and a hint of sweetness.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Main Dishes
- 1–1/2 lbs dry sea scallops
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Juice and zest of 2 fresh limes
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 12 ounces orzo, cooked (see recipe notes)
- Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Add the garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the green onions and sauté, stirring continually, until soft, 1-1/2 minutes longer.
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, lime juice, zest, fish sauce and sugar and combine well. Add the grape tomatoes and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, just long enough for the fresh tomatoes to soften. Stir in the cilantro. Taste and add some salt if necessary along with a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
- While the sauce cooks, heat the olive oil and remaining tablespoon of butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the scallops in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side (depending on the size), transferring them, one by one, to a plate as soon as they are cooked through. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm while you finish cooking the rest of the scallops.
- To serve, spoon some sauce onto each of 4 plates. Top with orzo, then scallops, then a bit more sauce.
If you normally cook orzo by boiling it according to the package directions, give this method a try for some added flavor. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the dry orzo and cook until it turns golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until the liquid is fully absorbed, about 15 minutes. Add a tablespoon of butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
For even more flavor, add some chopped onion and garlic to the orzo as it browns for added flavor.