Make Ahead

Kaffir Lime Scallops with Browned Butter

September 19, 2012
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This recipe was based on one by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, but I adjusted based on what I had in my kitchen. In his picture, he had the kaffir lime leaves completely enveloping the scallops, but I was just not able to make mine work the same way. It didn't matter. These were the tastiest scallops I've made to date, and brown butter sauce makes everything better. Try them the next time you can get your hands on some kaffir lime leaves and you won't be disappointed. —Meatballs&Milkshakes

Test Kitchen Notes

Sometimes the simplest of recipes are surprisingly complex in flavor, and such is the case in this dish. It’s done in minutes, but doesn’t taste like it. The Kaffir lime leaves infuse a complex flavor without overpowering or masking the scallops’ natural sweetness, and sautéing with browned butter and chives adds a nutty flavor with just a hint of onion from the chives. I will definitely be serving this again. It makes an outstanding entrée, but would be a perfect one-bite hors d’oeuvres! —sdebrango

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 pound sea scallops
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves per scallop
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (can sub cayenne or other chili pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon chives, minced
  • toothpicks
  1. Dry scallops well with paper towels. Skewer the kaffir lime leaves around the sides of the scallops, making sure the flat sides are still exposed so you can get a nice brown on them. Sprinkle with the aleppo or cayenne and some salt to taste.
  2. Warm the butter and oil in a frying pan until the butter starts to brown (but be careful not to let it burn). Gently place the scallops in the pan and allow to brown fully on one side before turning (about 2 minutes). Flip them gently once browned, and add the chives to the butter. Cook for another minute and then they’re done! Remove leaves at the table before eating.
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  • Meatballs&Milkshakes
  • A.
I'm an ex-finance, nonprofit fundraiser by day and a (mostly) Italian cook and blogger by night. I love having friends over for dinner and my favorite evenings are when we spend them at home together cooking dinner and chatting. I'm an avid cooking show fan, and my favorite eating cities are New York, San Francisco, Paris, and Rome.

4 Reviews

A. July 25, 2014
Are the kaffir lime leaves fresh or dried? Fresh leaves are not available where I live (and believe me, I've searched!). How can dried leaves or ground leaf powder be used as substitutes? I'd love to try this recipe!
I used fresh because I was able to get them locally, although you may be able to find them for delivery online. You might be able to try a ground version as a spice rub? I might also try reconstituting dried leaves.
A. July 25, 2014
I know that they're available online. I just refuse to pay the $20++ shipping fee sellers charge because it's "fresh" produce!
Meatballs&Milkshakes October 11, 2012
Thanks so much for testing it, SD!!!