I’ve never been a seafood fan (unless you count canned tuna) so when I tried scallops a few weeks ago I was THRILLED to discover that I liked them! My new-found enjoyment of this particular treat from the sea inspired this year’s New Year’s Eve dinner.
This recipe is based on one from Ted Allen of Chopped and whatnot and was paired with a light side salad. You’ll have enough grits leftover for breakfast the next morning, or you could double the scallops, chorizo, and green onions to make this for four. As it is below, this recipe is for two and comes together in about 30 minutes – especially if you have a wonderful person in the kitchen to put things away and clean as you go!
For the grits: In a large pot, bring 2 cups of milk, 1 1/2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of butter, and a generous pinch of salt to a boil. Once boiling, slowly stream in 3/4 cup grits (NOT instant) while stirring. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
Once you cover the grits, shred 8 oz of cheddar cheese and set aside. Pat dry 10 scallops and remove the muscle flap (if present). Sprinkle salt on both sides of the scallops. You can also dice 1/2 cup of scallions, 1 garlic clove, and halve a lemon at this point.
15 minutes into the grits cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Remove the casings from two links of chorizo, add to pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes, breaking it into pieces as it cooks.
Now that the chorizo has rendered a little fat, scoot the chorizo to the outside of the pan and add the scallops to the pan, remembering which you placed first and at what time. Cook the scallops on one side for 2 minutes; flip to the other side and cook another two minutes. Both sides should have a lovely golden brown sear. Remove from the pan to a plate and place in a warmed oven.
To the skillet, add 1/2 cup diced scallions, 1 minced garlic clove, and the juice from half a lemon. Stir and let cook for 3-4 minutes. You may need to reduce the heat to prevent the chorizo from burning.
While the chorizo finishes up, the grits should be finished. Take the grits off the heat, stir in the cheddar cheese, and add pepper to taste.
Serve immediately! Pour two ladleful a of grits onto a plate, add five scallops, and top with half of the chorizo/scallion mixture. Garnish with fresh scallions if available.
And that’s it!! Very easy, but fancy enough for a special occasion. I will DEFINITELY be making this for dinner again soon!