A quick, easy weeknight one-pan meal with a Mexican vibe, Mexican Seared Scallops with Beer and Chorizo gets its bold flavor from lean Mexican chorizo, and requires only about 30 minutes... Don't relegate this dish to weeknights, though. It is definitely worthy of a dinner party or date night!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
If you have followed Beyond Mere Sustenance, you're probably aware I'm a border girl (U.S. and Mexico), and have a love affair with Mexican cuisine... I am not talking about fat-laden, gooey enchiladas and fried chile rellenos (though they are delicious!).
I am talking about mole, seafood, fresh and dried chiles, slow-cooked pork, nopalitos, tropical fruit, tequila and mezcal, and so much more. Never one to attempt to recreate abuelita's family recipe, I use my knowledge of the Mexican kitchen and ubiquitous ingredients to create new recipes with a distinct Mexican flair.
Mexican Seared Scallops with Beer and Chorizo is a very simple and weeknight-friendly dish. It gets its fantastic Mexican flavor from lean Mexican chorizo. Chorizo is one of my "pantry" ingredients kept in the refrigerator for us an ounce or two at a time. It's all about the flavor!
♨️ How to Make a Perfectly Seared Scallop
A "perfectly seared scallop" may be a challenge for many home cooks. The key to getting a good sear lies in starting with a dry scallop. Unfortunately, most U.S. markets sell "wet" scallops that have been treated with phosphates to preserve shelf life. The phosphates cause the scallops to absorb water, and may give them a bit of an off-taste.
If you've purchased "wet" scallops, it helps to soak them in a mixture of 1 quart cold water, ¼ cup lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons table salt for 30 minutes. If you've purchased "dry" scallops, skip the brine.
Rinse and drain the scallops, and place atop several layers of paper towels or a clean, dry towel. Top with several more layers of paper towels. Gently press to remove moisture.
Salt and pepper the scallops on both sides, and they're ready for your smoking hot pan 🙂 I find my cast iron skillet gives great results; stainless steel is another good option. Use a very thin layer of oil!
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- lean chorizo
- tiny tomatoes
- corn - fresh off the cob or frozen
- squash - Mexican grey, zucchini, yellow
- ground cumin
- beer or broth/stock
🔪 How to Cook Scallops and Chorizo
Over medium-high heat, sauté the chorizo.
Add tomatoes. Sauté until they begin to burst.
Add chopped onion. Sauté until onion begins to look transparent and mixture is fragrant.
Add ground cumin. Give it all a good stir.
Add squash. Stir to combine.
Add corn. Stir to combine.
Add beer. If gluten or alcohol is an issue, chicken, seafood, or vegetable broth/stock is a great substitute.
Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender (not mushy!) - about 5 minutes.
2 options: 1. Keep this 1 pan, and remove the beer-cooked vegetables and wipe the pan. 2. Sear the scallops in a second pan, and keep the vegetables at a very reduced simmer.
Prepare the scallops. (See How To above).
Add a drizzle of oil to the pan over fairly high heat. Do NOT crowd the pan! Turn when well-caramelized and cook the other side. Set aside.
Re-heat the vegetable and beer mixture if you've removed from the heat.
To serve: Divide the vegetable and beer mixture between 2 shallow bowls. Top with half the seared scallops. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. Enjoy!
Do I have to use beer? NO! Substitute chicken, seafood, or vegetable broth/stock for the beer.
What kind of beer is best? I keep Coronitas on hand for dishes like this and Healthy Mexican Seafood Soup. At 7 ounces, it's close enough to 8 ounces, and I don't have to drink the rest! LOL. You want a light, clean lager for this dish. It doesn't need to be anything fancy.
What constitutes "lean chorizo?" I get my chorizo at Sprouts or HEB, and I can tell from the amount of white in the tray that it is lean. Occasionally I find chicken chorizo, but the pork chorizo at HEB is very lean. I do NOT recommend the chorizo that comes in a tube unless you read the label and it is chicken. Flavored fat is not what you want here! I must mention, I typically make homemade lean chorizo, and store it in 8 ounce packages in my freezer. If you love to "start from scratch," you should check it out!
🍷 Pairing Suggestions
You can go with a beer or with wine with this dish. I find sauvignon blanc is always a good pairing with seafood, and it works with this scallop recipe. Any light, crisp, dry white or rosé will be tasty!
Craft beer lovers will appreciate a hazy, citrus-forward IPA or a summer saison IMHO. Of course, if you have a favorite Mexican beer, go for it!
Summer is always upon us in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. We find this dish tastes good year 'round.