Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cumin-Seared Scallop Tacos

Kelsey Nixon of "Kelsey's Essentials" is one of my new favorite cooks.  Most of you may know her from "The Next Food Network Star", she was on season 4 and she actually made it to the top 4.  I absolutely loved her on NFNS and I had hoped she would win the title of NFNS and have her own show, well that didn't happen.  When she was cut I was so sad, I really enjoyed her and her spin on recipes as well as her cheery personality and thought she would have made a wonderful host.  Not too long after her dismisal from NFNS, Kelsey got her own show which premeired in 2010 Cooking Channel and I could not be happier.  She has so many helpful tips and the recipes that she prepares look so delicious and very do-able for the homecook.  Since I discovered her show it is now on my DVR list so I am sure to never miss an episode!  Each show has a theme and she prepares recips that correspond with that nifty is that?

One of the first shows I saw of her was an episode that featured recipes using cast iron skillets.  During this particular show everything she made looked and sounded absolutely delicious, and of course, it was made using a cast iron skillet.  When I saw her make cumin-seared scallop tacos with mango salsa, tomatillo guacomole and cilantro-lime rice I edited my weekly menu right them to ensure I could make them as soon as possible.  I knew if they were anywhere near as good as they looked they would be amazing.  Boy was I right, these were out of this world!  My mouth is watering now just thinking about them.  I loved everything about these tacos.  The spice of the cumin followed by the sweetness from the mangos and the rich butteriness of the guacomole paired so well together and made the best flavor combinations.  Individually the tomatillo guacomole, mango salso and cilantro-lime rice are delicious and would make great sides to go with any meal but they compliment each other so well and make the perfect flavor combination.  I can't get this on our menu enough; just thinking about it makes me want to go home and make some...I think they just may be on the menu next week!  This is the perfect meal for a fresh spring or summer supper; enjoy them while sitting on the porch and enjoying the nice weather.

Cumin-Seared Scallop Tacos


For the cilantro-lime rice-

1/2 Cup rice
5 Sprigs fresh cilantro
1 Cup chicken broth
Juice of 1 lime

For the tomatillo guacomole-

6-8 Tomatillos husked and roughly chopped (about 8 ounces)
3/4 Cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 Avocado, halved, peeled and chopped
1/2 Onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 Jalapeno, coarsely chopped with seeds
2 Garlic cloves, smashed and quarted
Juice of 1 lime
1 Teaspoon ground cumin
1 Teaspoon salt

For the mango salsa-

1/2 Cup diced mango
1/2 Cup diced tomatoes
2 Tablespoons minced onion
2 Tablepoons chopped cilantro
2 Teaspoons minced Serrano chile pepper
Zest and juice of 1 lime

For the scallops-

1 1/4 Pounds large sea scallops (about 8)
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon cumin
1-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas


First prepare the tomatillo guacomole and mango salsa. 

For the tomatillo guacomole-

Combine the tomatillos, cilantro, avocado, onion, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, cumin, and salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined.

For the salsa-

Combine the mango, tomatoes, minced onion, cilantro, chile, lime zest, and lime juice in a small bowl. Cover and set aside to let flavors combine.

For the rice-

In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the rice, cilantro, broth, rice, and lime juice to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Remove the cilantro sprigs and serve.

For the scallops-

Remove the tough ligament from the side of each scallop and discard. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Season both sides scallops with salt and cumin.

In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Allow the skillet to get as hot as possible without burning the butter.

Sear the scallops, turning once, until golden brown on each side, and just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes total. Transfer to a platter and half.

To assemble-

To assemble, toast corn tortillas, if desired, over an open flame just until slightly charred. Fill each tortilla with 2 tablespoons rice, 1 tablespoon guacamole, 2 seared and halved scallops, then top with mango salsa. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Recipe source: Kelsey Nixon, Kelsey's Essentials

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