This dish is so pretty I had to take a picture. The pink-hued corn sauce is more of a salsa than a sauce, with its tangle of red onion and flecks of Thai basil. A generous use of lime and white wine creates a high level of acidity, which is nicely rounded out by the sweetness of the scallop and a necessary kick of cayenne. The Thai basil adds just enough perfume without overwhelming, lending a fresh vegetal flavor while displaying more restraint than its licorice-heavy Mediterranean cousin. Butter, the clever secret ingredient, adds surprising richness and directs our attention to the luxurious butteriness of the scallop. Next time I will add more fresh basil after cooking to further balance the sweetness and texture of the sauce. Bright and festive, sweet and piquant, this is an attractive small plate appetizer which I'll be making again. - TasteFood —The Editors
pound sea scallops
Ears of corn (white or yellow)
Thai basil leaves
dry white wine
olive oil, plus splash
In This Recipe
Husk the corn, boil for five minutes, and cool. Remove kernels and set aside; throw out cobs.
Cut red onion in half and slice very thin. Saute in 2 tablespoons olive oil until soft and caramelize with salt.
Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne -- sauce should have a slight kick. Add the corn kernels and a small bunch of chopped Thai basil leaves and cook at medium high heat until the corn is beginning to brown. Set aside in a bowl, and stir in the juice of one lime.
Wipe off pan, add a splash of olive oil, and sear a pound of sea scallops (they should be absolutely dry) on each side, till brown, at high heat. Remove from pan.
Return corn mixture to pan, bring to boil, add juice of another lime and a half cup of dry white wine. Simmer at high heat for a couple minutes to reduce a little. Swirl in 4 tablespoons of butter, bit by bit, to make an emulsion, at very low heat, with a spoon or whisk. The butter should thicken the sauce and give it an appealing look and texture. Add more butter if you'd like a richer sauce.
Place the scallops on each plate, beside a pool of the corn sauce. Garnish with a sprig of Thai basil.