Valentine's Day

Scallop Crudo with Coconut Milk and Lime

January 21, 2016
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

The key to this dish is finding the highest quality scallops possible. Quick tangent: A buddy of mine used to work as a fishmonger at the farmer’s market in New York City, and he would eat raw scallops at the crack of dawn, insisting that their fresh sweetness would give him more energy than five cups of coffee. The moral of this story is that fresh scallops are delicious when eaten raw.

The coconut marinade in this recipe is subtle, with the saltiness of the soy sauce and fish sauce pairing nicely with the acidity of the lime; the sweetness of the raw scallops will shine in the cool creamy marinade. The radish adds some texture and color, and the chili oil gives the dish just enough heat to make it interesting. —Josh Cohen

What You'll Need
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 pound of the freshest sea scallops available
  • 1 small red radish
  • A handful of cilantro leaves
  • Maldon salt (or another flaky sea salt)
  • A few drops of chili oil
  • An extra lime, to be zested for garnish
  1. Set a large pan over medium heat, and add the coconut milk. Simmer the coconut milk until it reduces to approximately ¼ its original volume, stirring occasionally. When the coconut milk is sufficiently reduced, it will be noticeably thicker than it was when you first added it to the pan. Transfer the reduced coconut milk to a mixing bowl, and place the bowl in the refrigerator to cool.
  2. When the coconut milk is chilled, add the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and mirin. Whisk to combine.
  3. Remove and discard the abductor muscle from each scallop (the small, rectangular side muscle). Rinse the scallops under cold water to remove any sand or grit, then pat them dry. Slice each scallop into thin round slivers, and place the scallop slivers into the coconut milk mixture. Let the scallops marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, and up to an hour.
  4. Slice the radish into very thin rounds using a mandolin or sharp knife. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves. To serve this dish, arrange the slivers of scallops onto a flat plate. Use a slotted spoon to plate the scallops, allowing most of the coconut marinade to drain off through the slotted spoon before bringing the scallops to the plate. There should only be a thin coating of marinade with the scallops on the plate. Nestle the radish rounds in with the scallop slivers, and sprinkle a little Maldon salt on top of the dish, crushing it with your fingers as you sprinkle it. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the dish. Drip a few small drops of chili oil over the plate. Using a fine microplane, garnish with lime zest. Serve and enjoy.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Byron Ling
    Byron Ling
  • Janice Zengel
    Janice Zengel
  • Carole
  • Josh Cohen
    Josh Cohen

16 Reviews

Byron L. December 24, 2017
What do you mean by scallop slivers? If I'm starring directly down on the scallop (so it's a circle), are you slicing it into very thin circles or cutting them quarters so they are each quarters of the whole scallop?
Josh C. January 2, 2018
Hi Byron,
I would recommend very thin circles.
DanAfterDark February 11, 2016
Could you just substitute 1/4 can of coconut cream, rather than reducing the 1 can of coconut milk to 1/4 can?
Josh C. February 11, 2016
Hi DanAfterDark,

I like this suggestion a lot. I see no reason why this wouldn't work, and it would save the hassle of reducing the coconut milk and then chilling the reduction. Great suggestion. If you prepare this recipe with coconut cream instead of coconut milk, I'd love to know how it turns out.
DanAfterDark February 14, 2016
So, I made it with the coconut cream, and it worked pretty well. The cream is definitely too thick by itself, but once you add the lemon juice and other liquids, it thins out to a normal sauce consistency. Haven't made this before, so not sure if there is much of a taste difference, but I would assume not. Very tasty - thanks for the recipe!
A. January 27, 2016
This sounds delicious, but how do I know if the scallops I get are safe to eat raw? I totally love sushi, but I always eat it at a restaurant to that there's someone to sue if I get food poisoning. ;-)
Josh C. January 28, 2016
You should buy "Dry-packed sea scallops" from a fishmonger that you trust. Do not use "Wet-packed sea scallops" for this recipe. Tell your fishmonger that you are planning on serving a scallop crudo, and they will advise you as to whether the scallops they are selling are fresh enough for this sort of a preparation. The scallops should have a pleasant and fresh sea smell.
Sunny B. January 27, 2016
Could you substitute shrimp for the scallops?
Maryann January 27, 2016
I'd like to know this too (scallop allergy)!
Josh C. January 27, 2016
If you are interested in substituting shrimp into this recipe, I would suggest gently cooking the shrimp in butter, then tossing the shrimp in the coconut marinade. I would then serve this dish warm.
ScallopQueen October 9, 2021
It's possible you're allergic or have a reaction to the sodium tripolyphosphates most scallops are treated with. I ship scallops, and one of my customers gave a friend of his a gift certificate. The friend called me to explain that he couldn't eat scallops so he wanted to order something else. I told him I'd be happy to ship him something else, but I would also ship him a small amount of scallops, which he did. He now buys scallops from me regularly. Unfortunately it's all too common for even "dry" scallops to be anything but.
Janice Z. January 27, 2016
Since this recipe serves 4, can the leftovers be saved for the next day?
Josh C. January 27, 2016
I would not serve the uncooked scallops as leftovers the next day.

If you have extra marinated scallops that have been properly refrigerated overnight, you could try fully cooking the scallops and eating them as leftovers. Maybe serve them over rice.
Carole January 27, 2016
is this dish similar to a civeche where the scallops 'cook' in the marinade? i only ask as this sounds amazing but i know my husband wont be up for 'raw' scallops. thanks!
Josh C. January 27, 2016
Hi Carole,

Although there is some lime juice in the coconut marinade, there is not really enough lime to "cook" the scallops like a traditional ceviche. The scallops taste delicate and raw, coated in the creamy coconut marinade.
Carole January 27, 2016
thank you, i will give it a try :)