Cast Iron Skillet Seared Scallops with a Cayenne Corn Puree

This is by far one of my favorite dishes to prepare and to serve guests.  Once you learn the technique to prepare scallops, you will wonder why you don't make them at home more often. You want to start with super-fresh scallops.  I buy mine locally from The Carolina Fish Market. They are so big and meaty.  The recipe for the Cayenne Corn Puree follows.  You can actually prepare both at the same time.

I start by rinsing my scallops and pulling off the tiny piece of muscle on the side.  I place on paper towels to dry thoroughly.  The key to a great sear on a scallop is to be sure to dry as much as possible.  Season dry scallops with Salt and Pepper.  

Grab a cast iron skillet and allow to heat to a medium high.  I do coat my pan with just a touch of olive oil or butter.  When the pan is super hot, place about 4 to 5 scallops in pan...do not overcrowd...you can cook in batches if need be.  Allow the scallops to sear on one side for about 2 to 3 minutes depending on the size...as much as you may want to...DO NOT TOUCH...just allow them to sear.  When seared on one side, flip and sear the other.  Be sure not to overcook.  The more you do this, the better you will become at just knowing when the scallop is fully cooked and tender.  

 

Do not touch for a few minutes...allow to sear nicely one side...

Do not touch for a few minutes...allow to sear nicely one side...

Seared Scallops

Seared Scallops

Now for the super, simple Cayenne Corn puree.  Crisp up about 6 pieces thick bacon cut into tiny pieces and drain.  If you can find freshly picked corn, grab about five to six ears and cut the kernels off.  If corn is out of season or you can't find fresh picked, then you can use canned corn.  I prefer Green Giant White Shoepeg Corn.  As you are heating up your cast iron skillet, grab a pot and combine 1 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream, the corn, salt and pepper, 2 to 3 Tablespoons of butter, and cayenne pepper (I usually use about one teaspoon, but you can definitely use more/less depending on your preferred heat level).  Allow the pot to come to a boil and boil for about 5 to 6 minutes.  Keep a watch that the pot does not overflow.  At this point, take an immersion blender and blend all ingredients in the pot.  If the mixture seems too thin, then just drain a bit of the liquid out prior to blending.  You can also use a food processor.  If you do not want the pieces of kernels in your finished product, then you can strain after blended.  I prefer not straining. Add about 3/4 of the bacon pieces to the blended mixture.  To plate for individual servings, I use a flat, wide bowl and pour part of the mixture in the bowl and top with 3 to 4 of your seared scallops.  Top with extra bits of bacon and fresh chopped parsley.

 

Seared Scallops with a Cayenne Corn Puree

Seared Scallops with a Cayenne Corn Puree