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Salt Crust Scallops with Thai Lime Dipping Sauce

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9- to 10-inch) square salt block

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup Thai fish sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 hot chile pepper, such as bird chile, habanero, cayenne or Scotch bonnet, stem and seeds removed, minced
  • ¼ cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1¼ pounds large, wild-caught sea scallops (about 16)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Procedures:

Plump, buttery scallops are salt-seared to golden perfection and then dipped in a tangy sesame-citrus sauce.

Place the salt block over low heat on a gas grill or stovetop for 10 minutes (see Read Before Heating!, Salt Block Cooking: 70 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks by Mark Bitterman, pg. 25).

Turn the heat to medium and heat for 10 more minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and heat the block to about 600°F, about 20 more minutes (see Getting It Hot, in Salt Block Cooking, pg. 24).

To make the dipping sauce, mix the lime juice, fish sauce, ¼ cup water, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, chile pepper and carrot; set aside.

Pat the scallops dry and pull off their white gristly tendons if not already removed. Season the scallops with the black pepper and let stand at room temperature until the salt block is hot. When the salt block is very hot (you should only be able to hold your hand above it for just a few seconds), place the scallops on the hot block and sear until browned and springy to the touch but still a little soft in the center, about 3 minutes per side. Work in batches if your salt block cannot comfortably fit all the scallops at once.

Transfer to a platter or plates and serve with the dipping sauce.

by Mark Bitterman, Salt Block Cooking: 70 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks

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