Seared Sea Scallops With Cilantro Gremolata and Pea Purée

Foodista Cookbook Entry

Category: Main Dishes | Blog URL:

This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.


1 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the Pea Purée:
1 garlic clove, minced


Prepare the Cilantro Gremolata:
Stir the cilantro, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Prepare the Pea Purée:
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Add 1 teaspoon salt and the peas.
Reduce heat and simmer until peas are tender.
Remove from heat and drain peas, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
Combine peas, garlic, 1/4 cup reserved water, olive oil and lemon juice in bowl of food processor.
Purée until smooth.
Add more water as necessary to achieve desired consistency.
Keep warm.
Prepare the Sea Scallops:
Sprinkle sea scallops all over with salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
Add scallops and cook, turning once, until brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
While the scallops are cooking, spoon pea purée on serving plates.
Sprinkle scallops and purée with gremolata.
Drizzle lightly with extra-virgin olive oil.
Sprinkle with black pepper.
Serve immediately.




You say cilantro, I say coriander. In the U.S. the leaves are called cilantro while the seeds are called coriander; in Europe the leaves are called coriander, while the seeds are called, er, coriander. Whatever your linguistic disposition, this is one herb the world apparently can't live without. Featured in the cuisines of the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Asia, coriander has a culinary history dating back to King Tut: the seeds were found in his tomb. Native to the Mediterranean, coriander was introduced to the Americas by the Europeans in the 1600's and has been growing like the dickens ever since, figuring prominently in American Southwestern, Mexican and Latin American cuisines.

Also known as Chinese Parsley, the entire coriander plant is edible, including its root. Its leaves and stems are best served fresh and used as a final addition to dishes, as the delicate leaves do not stand up well to cooking. Its seeds are the dried ripe fruit of the plant, frequently used whole for pickling and spicing, or toasted and finely ground into the dried spice known as coriander.

Coriander is an acquired taste for many, including myself, but now I can't get enough of it. Fortunately, in Northern California, the winters are mild, and I can grow coriander (or cilantro) in pots on my terrace year round. Presently we have an abundance, and I know just what I will do with it: This month I am participating in the GYO (Grow Your Own) event hosted by the Daily Tiffin blog. The concept is to create a recipe that features or uses something that has been growing in your garden - or pot, in my case. I will harvest whole bunches of the coriander before it flowers, and make a Gremolata which I will serve with Seared Scallops and Pea Purée.


4 as main course, 8 as appetizer


Sunday, January 3, 2010 - 1:47pm


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