Lemon Juice

Seared Sea Scallops with Gingered Pea Purée and Cilantro Gremolata

April 21, 2021
12 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8 as an appetizer, 4 as a main course
Author Notes

At this time of year, whenever I go the market English peas always accompany me home. They are nature's superior answer to fast food, preferably eaten straight from the shell, with no need for cooking. When I do get around to cooking them, a favorite preparation is as an accompaniment to shellfish. The briny sweetness and pearly coral colors of the fish perfectly compliment the sweet, vividly green peas. In this recipe, crispy seared scallops are served on a bed of puréed peas spiced with fresh ginger and topped with cilantro gremolata. It's a beautiful presentation, either as individual amuse-bouches, an appetizer or an entrée. A variation of this recipe even made an appearance at the Bay area Food52 potluck. - TasteFood —TasteFood

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: TasteFood is a seasoned traveler and food blogger living in the Bay Area.
WHAT: A noble destination for your fresh spring peas (but if you use frozen, we won't tell).
HOW: Whiz up your pea puree, sear your scallops, mix up your gremolata, and assemble.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This pea puree is unlike any pea puree we've had; it's punchy, it's gingery, it's exciting. Topped with a couple of perfectly-cooked scallops and a lemony, herbaceous gremolata, you've got a dish that's fit for a dinner party. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the Scallops and Pea Puree
  • 2 cups shelled English peas
  • salt
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch cayenne (optional)
  • 16 large sea scallops, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • Cilantro Gremolata (see below)
  • For the Cilantro Gremolata
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshy ground black pepper
  1. For the Scallops and Pea Puree
  2. Prepare the Pea Purée: Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons salt and the peas. Cook until peas are tender. Remove from heat and drain peas, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
  3. Combine peas, 1/4 cup reserved water, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne in bowl of food processor. Purée until smooth. Add more water as necessary to achieve desired consistency; the purée should not be too thin. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.
  4. Prepare scallops: Pat scallops dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the scallops, taking care not to overcrowd in the pan. Cook, turning once, until brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to plate and keep warm. Repeat with remaining scallops.
  5. To assemble, spoon pea purée on serving plates. Top with scallops. Sprinkle scallops and purée with gremolata. Drizzle lightly with extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.
  1. For the Cilantro Gremolata
  2. Combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Julia Gordeyeva
    Julia Gordeyeva
  • Maeva Giraudo
    Maeva Giraudo
  • Karen Spardello Sagaspe
    Karen Spardello Sagaspe
  • Caitlin Cunningham
    Caitlin Cunningham
  • Adrienne

34 Reviews

Julia G. July 19, 2023
This has become a staple dish for me although I skip gremolata most of the time out of time considerations. I make the peas puree when I need something quick as a side for fish or scallops, and it's so yummy even my husband (who opposes most of the legumes family) likes it! I even modified this slightly for my baby to get her on to peas, and it was a success even without salt and peppers. Great recipe - quick, fresh zesty taste! Restaurant quality indeed.
fearlessem February 14, 2021
I don't know why, but the combo of peas and ginger just really didn't work for me -- it felt totally off to me, and I left almost all of it on my plate. Hubby felt the same way :-(
David F. April 3, 2020
I make this as written. It's awesome. I do use an outdoor burner and a cast iron pan and SEAR the scallops and add a little white wine at the end to make a pan sauce.
Flames for sure if you do that, so be careful indoors.
I've even made it with canned peas when on a boat. The scallops though were caught that day, so still wow.
Maeva G. February 25, 2020
Amazing dish and association! Will definitely become one of my staples, although I will pull back on salt and ginger for next time.
Kristin March 22, 2019
Seriously, a restaurant-quality dish. This was superb and such a great meal for early Spring. Can't wait to make it again!
Karen S. March 21, 2019
Made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing...and beautiful on the plate. Definitely recommend this recipe.
Caitlin C. February 23, 2017
This was delicious; I made it for my in-laws after I was told scallops were a crowd favorite. We doubled up on the peas, originally because we had an extra bag available, and then because we realized that it sounded delicious, and extra greens couldn't hurt. As advised by previous users, I pulled back on the salt across the board, and found it very well balanced. Given that it's late February but that it was in the 60s today, a citrusy spring dinner was perfect, and the four of us scraped our plates clean.
Adrienne May 17, 2016
Such a wonderful recipe! I found that the gremolata was a bit salty for my taste. I added some creme fresh which remedied the situation, but in the future I would probably half the amount. I agree with Mayumi, the Trader Joe's scallops work perfectly and, if you forget to thaw them like I did, they quickly come to room temperature in a bowl of cold water. Thank you!
Mayumi March 17, 2016
I loved that this recipe could be made mainly with basic items you'd have already. I only needed to go get scallops & English peas. I used the bag of frozen scallops & a pack of fresh English peas, both from Trader Joe's. They have the perfect portions. I'd definitely note for people who are trying to make this for the first time that the scallops need to be thawed completely and patted dry.. otherwise the water gets in the way of making the nice browning. And I may cut back on the salt used in the gremolata. The pea sauce is already slightly spicy, so the saltiness of the gremolata was a bit too much. For us. I can't wait to make this recipe again! Thank you!
Nacho J. October 3, 2015
Made these this week for dinner. The wife and son were both impressed and said they looked as good as they tasted. Thanks for the great recipe.
ParkerNolita June 18, 2015
I bought my first batch of English peas at the farmers' market yesterday morning and made this recipe last night for a mini dinner party with friends. It was a huge hit! The sauce is bright and vibrant, perfect for early summer. This will be added to the rotation in our house. Thank you.
ZiggyPiecrust June 14, 2015
Perfection every time, So love this recipe, and it was the perfect Sunday Summer Supper after a day of swimming and hanging out with pals by the pool. Served it with grilled asparagus and lemon, and a roasted corn, edamame, tomato salad with lime ginger vinaigrette.
Joe May 27, 2015
2nd time I made it, this time for company. Perfect, light, spring dinner. Made exactly as written but sprinkled a very small amount of crisped pancetta on top. Paired w/Pinot Griz. Great meal.
Erin J. May 23, 2015
I didn't have enough peas so I used a mix of peas and edamame. It was great! My husband ate what was left over as a dip. Will definitely make again.
Julia W. September 29, 2014
Made this yesterday with frozen petite peas and frozen scallops and loved it! The cayenne pepper and ginger added great flavor.
I liked it. Pea puree was surprisingly spicy because of the raw ginger but I liked it a lot. The recipe made way too much gremolata which I think could have been halved. Used frozen peas since not quite in season and worked just fine.
rd August 22, 2013
Something about this recipe (when I searched "cilantro") said "make this tonight." I subbed seared tofu since I didn't have scallops. Totally unexpected and totally delicious.
aargersi June 3, 2013
Hurrah! Congratulations! I have made this a ton of times and I am always so happy when I do, and now I want it again this week! Such a great recipe!!!
RecipeAddict August 22, 2011
looks awesome.. cannot wait to try it!
The L. May 2, 2010
I made dinner for my parents tonight to prove to them that some New Yorkers actually cook. I used frozen petite peas instead of English peas so the puree was a brilliant green color. The ginger added a real punch of flavor. I served it alongside lemon risotto with asparagus and a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Delicious!