Caramelized Sea Scallops with Crawfish-Papaya Salsa, Cilantro Butter Sauce, and Watercress Salad

4 servings
  • 2 cups medium-diced, seeded, and peeled fresh papaya
  • 1/2 cup minced red onions
  • 2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, optional
  • 2 teaspoons pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, optional
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 large bunch watercress, trimmed, washed and spun dry (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup thinly shaved red onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound cooked Louisiana crawfish tails
  • 8 jumbo (U-10) sea scallops, side muscles removed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Cilantro Butter Sauce, recipe follows
  • Cilantro Butter Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • In a bowl, combine the papaya, minced red onions and jalapeno and toss with the citrus juices and cilantro. Adjust seasoning to taste and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

  • In a bowl, toss the watercress with the shaved red onions and olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to serve.

  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is foamy, add the crawfish and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, to heat through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly; then add to the papaya mixture.

  • Coat the scallops on both sides in the sugar, pressing to adhere.

  • In a large clean skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the scallops, in batches if necessary, and sear on both sides until caramelized on the outside and the scallops are just cooked through but still tender, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and lightly season with salt and pepper.

  • To serve, spoon butter sauce into the center of 4 large plates. Arrange a portion of the crawfish-papaya salsa in the middle of the sauce and set 2 scallops on top of the salsa. Arrange the watercress salad above the scallops and serve immediately.

Cilantro Butter Sauce:
  • In a medium saute pan, combine the shallots, wine and lime juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

  • Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, adding each piece before the previous one has been completely incorporated. Continue until all the butter is incorporated and the sauce coats the back of a spoon, removing the pan from the heat periodically to prevent the sauce from getting too hot and breaking. Whisk in the honey, salt, cayenne, and cilantro.

  • Serve immediately, or cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

  • Yield: about 3/4 cup

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