Scallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn Puree

Prepare yourselves to be extremely jealous of me. Honestly, I feel bad gloating, but if you were in my shoes, I know that you would, too. So, I guess I don’t feel so bad about bragging after all. What is my fantastic news, you might ask? Well, I met Gail Simmons this past weekend! You can view the extremely blurry and extremely awesome photo of the two of us here. My friends and I went to Andaz on 5th for Fashion’s Night Out to see David Chang do a cooking demonstration and whiskey tasting (you can view another blurry and dark photo of him here), and while we were walking around, my friend Lindsey spotted her! I was so excited to meet her and she couldn’t have been nicer. My camera phone wasn’t working and I apologized and probably seemed like a huge nerd. I told her how I couldn’t wait for the finale of Top Chef next week, followed by the season premier of Just Desserts, which she will be hosting, and her response was, “I’m even more excited!” It was a great way to end the night!

I had never made scallops before, so I was pretty nervous about it at first! I spent all day trying to figure out the best way to prepare them. I decided on chorizo because I wanted something spicy to play against the smooth taste and texture of the scallop, but I also needed something that was a cool and refreshing against the heat of the chorizo. I had some sweet corn already at home, so I picked up some tomatillos and got to work! I loved the end result for this dish. The scallops were done to near perfection, if I may say so myself. The sear on the top and bottom were golden, a bit crisp, and absolutely delicious. I cooked the scallops in the fat of the chorizo, so a bit of that flavor was infused into them. The chorizo, which is naturally spicy and slightly sweet, was a beautiful contrast with both the scallop and the puree, which was light and delicious. This puree really tastes like each vegetable that was put into it, and even after you’ve finished your scallops, you’ll be scraping your plate for every last spoonful of the puree mixed with chorizo. If you have never cooked scallops before at home, I hope that you’ll set aside your fears, as I did, and give it a try! This dish was something far from what I usually cook, but I loved every bite (and so did Kramer).

Scallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn Puree
Your ingredients.

Scallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn Puree
Place the cleaned tomatillos, the habanero pepper, and the onion and garlic, brushed with olive oil, on a lined pan. Roast at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.

Scallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn PureeScallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn Puree
Add the puree ingredients to the food processor or blender and pulse until pureed thoroughly.

Scallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn Puree
Place the puree in a small bowl, cover, and either set aside to keep warm or place in the fridge to cool (I preferred it cool to contrast with the hot and spicy chorizo).

Scallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn Puree
Heat some olive oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel pan and cook the chorizo.

Scallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn Puree
Remove the chorizo from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in a small bowl. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

Scallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn Puree
Reserve about a tablespoon of chorizo fat and add a tablespoon of butter to the pan and turn the heat to medium-high.

Scallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn Puree
When the butter is foaming, add in the rinsed and patted dry scallops to the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until a golden crust develops.

Scallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn PureeScallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn Puree
Place some of the puree on a plate, followed by the chorizo, and topped with the scallops.

Scallops and Chorizo with a Tomatillo-Corn Puree
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
  • 12 fresh scallops, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ lb. uncooked ground chorizo (if using sausages, remove the casings)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Tomatillo-Corn Puree
  • 1 lb. tomatillos (fresh or canned; if using canned, get the 'roasted' variety)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and kept whole
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 habanero pepper (I used 2, but found it to be too spicy when paired with the chorizo)
  • 2-3 ears corn, kernels removed
  • 1 green bell pepper, quartered
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Begin by making the puree. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil, then spray very lightly with non-stick spray (such as Pam). Peel your tomatillos, then rinse under warm water to get rid of any of the residue remaining from the leaves. Pat dry and place in a line on your baking sheet. Quarter your onion and peel your garlic and place those on the baking sheet. Wash your habanero pepper and place that on the sheet as well. Brush the onion and garlic with a bit of olive oil. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the onions and tomatillos are slightly charred and the garlic is golden. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  2. When the roasted vegetables have cooled enough to handle, place in a food processor or blender. Add half of the vegetables, puree, then add the other half. Add in the raw corn kernels and bell pepper and puree. Add the salt and pepper, puree one more time, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Place in a bowl and keep in the fridge until you're ready to eat. You can serve it hot, too, but I think that the cool puree is a nice contrast against the hot and spicy chorizo.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron or stainless steel skillet (you don't want to use non-stick for this because you want your scallops to have a nice golden sear on each side). Add the ground chorizo and cook for 8 minutes or so, until cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl, cover, and set aside. Drain off all but a tablespoon of the chorizo fat and keep the pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Rinse the scallops and pat them dry - you want to get them as dry as possible. Add the tablespoon of butter to the pan and when bubbling, add the scallops. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, until a crisp, golden crust develops. Place the puree on a plate, top with the hot chorizo, and top with 4 scallops for each plate. Serves 3.


31 Responses

  1. Wei-Wei says:

    This looks absolutely amazing! I just loooove scallops, and it’s so awesome to flavour them with chorizo too!

  2. Megan says:

    How cool that you met Gail! I’m really excited about Top Chef Just Desserts too.

    And this meal looks like perfection. I may have to try to make this this week.

  3. Carrie says:

    Wow, this is exactly the kind of meal that I love. The scallops/chorizo pairing sounds so wonderful!

  4. Tina from PA says:

    My husband would love this scallop dish. Looks wonderful ! I usually just make then scampi style or he’ll grill them , this will be a nice change. Good for you meeting Gail ,I also cann’t wait for Top Chef Just Desserts.

  5. Gabrielle says:

    That’s so great! I met Gail Simmons and her husband last winter on vacation in the Cayman Islands and she was super-sweet. She had her husband take a picture of us, and then later I saw her walking around with my mom and she came up to us to ask if we wanted another picture. Really lovely lady.

  6. Dana says:

    Holy mole! I’d come over to your house for supper any day!

    And lucky you, meeting Gail Simmons!

  7. Kim says:

    come hang in the east village you’ll see Padma!

  8. Juliana says:

    Wow, the scallops look awesome with chorizo…nice combination of flavors…great photos!

  9. Nero says:

    this might be a really stupid question but what do scallops taste like? i’ve never had them beefore

    • Sydney says:

      Nero: Hmm…it’s difficult for me to explain. It’s a subtle flavor, like most fresh seafood, and because of that I like to have them with something spicy to kick them up a bit (hence the chorizo). They’re very delicate and almost buttery tasting. If you like white fish or even shrimp, you’ll love scallops!

  10. Allison says:

    Oh man Gail Simmons!!
    She’s awesome. This is awesome.

    I can’t wait for Top Chef Just Desserts. I might have to bake in honor of it when it airs.

  11. Ben says:

    ooh is it time for scallops again? looks nummy.

    btw, new amsterdam market (the one next to south st. seaport) is this sunday 11-4. maybe i’ll run into you there!

  12. I’ve never really seen anything like this.. but I bet my husband would love it!

  13. Скажите, а у вас есть RSS поток в этом блоге

  14. I would never have thought of pairing chorizo with scallops. Very creative.
    Scallops are not available in Mexico, unless one buys imported (very expensive), but I bet this recipe would be very good with shrimp substituted for the scallops. Thank you for such a creative recipe with beautiful photos.


    • Sydney says:

      Cooking in Mexico: Thank you very much! I think shrimp would be a great substitute, especially since there are so many good varieties down where you are! We had some jumbo Mexican shrimp at a restaurant a few weeks ago and it was amazing!

  15. Makes me think of surf and turf. Love this dish very creative and looks like something I’d want to order in a rerstaurant

  16. Kristen says:

    Just made this tonight after having the recipe bookmarked for YEARS! And after years of cooking it was also (unbelievably) my very first time cooking scallops. It was all a delicious success and my husband and I both loved it! Used some fresh corn for the puree and the only thing I changed was to also roast a poblano pepper. The chorizo with the scallops and the cool, puree was really great and very flavorful. Thanks for such an awesome recipe, one I can FINALLY check off my list! :)

  17. Schug says:

    Just made this. Great recipe idea, but some of the ratios are off. Good luck making this in 20 mins too. It took me closer to 45.

    Changes I’d make…
    – Cut the puree ingredients by a third. I had a LOT left over.
    – Grill the corn until carmelized to add more sweetness / smokiness.
    – Add 1 TBSP butter to the puree to make it richer.
    – Reserve some of the roasted corn and garnish generously at the end.
    – Roast the vegetables at a higher heat for longer — maybe 375 for 15 mins.
    – Salt the scallops and let them sit on a paper towel for 30 mins in the refrigerator before cooking. This drains the water so they don’t wind up rubbery.

Leave a Reply to Sydney Cancel reply

©2022 The Crepes of Wrath