Salt Block Scallops
Serving a properly seared sea scallop isn’t difficult, but have you ever cooked one on a block of salt? This can be a great way to sear scallops, shrimp and vegetables. Here's a simple recipe for you to try cooking with a Himalayan salt block: the prep can be a bit tricky, so I've written some tips in a short blog to get you started. I recommend you read that first. (How to Cook with a Himalayan Salt Block.)
Serves 4 as an appetizer or serve with a side salad for a main course.
8 oz. U16 scallops (U16 means less than 16 per pound)
8 oz. large shrimp again U16 (optional)
1 T olive oil
8 oz. thin asparagus spears
Piment d’esplette or fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut in half, then in half again
First, heat your salt block. Your goal is to get it to about 500 degrees or higher but you need to get it there slowly.
Heat your salt block on your gas range on low heat for about 15 - 20 minutes. Increase heat to medium and continue heating for another 15 - 20 minutes. Increase heat again to high and continue heating for another 15 - 20 minutes.
Check the temperature of your block using an infrared thermometer. It should read about 500 - 600 degrees now. If you don’t own an infrared thermometer (a tool I highly recommend you buy as a kitchen essential), you can flick water on the block and if the water evaporates immediately, you are good to go.
While salt block is heating up, dry scallops using paper towel. Remove the muscle on the side of each scallop. It’s where the stomach of the scallop was attached to the scallop itself. It’s edible but extremely tough and rubbery and takes away from the eating experience of a perfectly cooked scallop. Peel and devein shrimp if not already done. Leave the tail attached, as it looks more attractive for presentation. Let your food come to room temperature before cooking on your salt block.
When your salt block has come to temperature, you are ready to cook your food.
Toss your scallops and shrimp in a bowl with your olive oil and pepper. Lay your lemon quarters cut side down in the top left and right corners of your salt block.
Now carefully lay your scallops on your salt block. Don’t overcrowd your salt block. Leave them without moving them for about 3 minutes to get a nice brown crust on them. Turn and cook for another minute or so to create that perfect tender interior. Remove to a plate while you cook the remainder of your food.
Cook your shrimp for about 2 minutes per side.
Cook your asparagus alongside your scallops and shrimp. Plate your scallops, shrimp, asparagus and lemon quarters.