Seared Scallop Lettuce Wraps with Cashew Butter Sauce! There's nothing like tender scallops dusted with sweet and smoky spices perfectly seared and nestled in crisp lettuce then drizzled with a silky, Asian-inspired sauce. Talk about one mouthwatering 30-minute dish!
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What actually got the gears turning, is this eye-catching bouquet of beautiful greens my mom picked up for me from a local NJ farmer. Lettuce wraps were the first thing to come to mind, and filling them with tender caramelized scallops was the perfect solution.
Giving the scallops a good dusting of a rich and flavorful spice mixture primes them for a quick sear in the skillet.
TIP: Make sure your scallops are patted completely dry before sprinkling! Dry scallops will sear. Wet scallops will steam.
You want your cast iron or non-stick skillet nice and hot before adding the scallops to get that crusted char on the edges with delicate, just opaque centers. I'm lucky there were still some to photograph!
At the risk of sounding like Guy Fieri describing food, this is truly a fireworks of incredible flavor going off in every bite. There's spice, sweet, and smoke along with tender, crispy, and silky textures. When it's all said and done, leave the tupperware in the cabinet. There won't be any leftovers.
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Seared Scallop Lettuce Wraps with Cashew Butter Sauce
CASHEW BUTTER SAUCE
- ½ cup creamy cashew butter
- ¼ cup water , plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons ginger , freshly grated
- ⅛ -¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 pounds sea scallops (U15), rinsed, muscle tabs removed and patted dry
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Fresh green leafy lettuce leaves, like baby romaine or Boston
- For garnish: thinly sliced green onion and fresno peppers, chopped cashews, cilantro and squeeze of lime
CASHEW BUTTER SAUCE
- Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender for 20 seconds until smooth. Makes about 1 cup. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Let come to room temperature before using.)
- Thoroughly dry scallops with paper towels or a dishtowel. The scallops need to be dry. If they’re wet, they will not sear. There will be a puddle in your pan and the scallops will steam.
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, white and black pepper, thyme, oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder. Sprinkle about half of the mixture on both sides of the scallops. Save the remaining mixture for a future use.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add half of the scallops. Sear on each side about 2 minutes. Scallops should be caramelized and crusted on the outside, and tender and just opaque in the center.
- Place seared scallops on a dish and tent with foil. Add remaining scallops to the skillet. Again, sear about 2 minutes per side.
- Serve immediately on fresh lettuce leaves along with Cashew Butter Sauce and suggested garnishes, as desired.
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