I'm not sure if it's the cooler weather, or the proximity to the pristine beaches at our current campsite, or if it's the abundance of fresh seafood markets around, but I am once again inspired to make good food. Yesterday, I decided to drive up the 30A in search of one of these markets and found Buddy's only a few miles from our campground. Buddy's is a brightly lit space with a corner dedicated to wine, floor-to-ceiling shelves of specialty food items, and two huge plexiglass seafood displays. The seafood options were all fresh caught and I chose a large pinkish slab of grouper, some fresh crab meat, and jumbo scallops. On the drive to the market, I had been daydreaming about what I might make with no certainty, as I knew the selection at the store would determine the dish.
Scallops are some of my favorite seafood and I already knew that these particular beauties were destined for the grill. Grilled scallops seemed a little elementary though, so I thought about what else I had in my tiny fridge. There was a bunch of fresh parsley, which I always picked up for herb dressings and chimichurri sauce. I had a nice ripe mango too that needed to be used. Okay, so a mango puree with scallops... No, too basic, too expected. But what about a twist on the chimichurri? The mango would add a hint of fruity sweetness to the garlicky sauce, which would go well with the mild flavor of the scallops. There was also a buttercup squash that has been patiently waiting to make it's debut and I decided that a nice, starchy purée would be a great compliment to the lightness of the dish as it was forming in my imagination. Out of the depths of my culinary memory, the term carpaccio made an appearance. And I knew what I was to make.
The squash provides a good, rich base to the mostly raw meat resting atop and the chimichurri contributes a punch of heat and sweet to the dish. Briefly grilling the scallops adds a depth of flavor that allows them to stand up to the brightness of the chimichurri and starchiness of the squash. Lemon to finish and I would have my carpaccio.
Prep Time - 5 minutes | Cook Time - 30 minutes | Total Time - 45 minutes
(8) Large Scallops
Sea Salt and Pepper
Half of a Lemon
1/2 Buttercup Squash
4 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Agave or Honey
Sea Salt and Pepper
(2) Cloves of Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Mango, minced
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
Small Handful of Fresh Parsley, minced
1-2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (to preference)
Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 375° and grill to high.
- Clean squash and cut into thirds.
- Place buttercup squash meat up on a lined baking sheet.
- Drizzle squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, then bake for 25-30 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool.
- Mix together the ingredients for the chimichurri sauce, either in a food processor or by hand.
- When squash has cooled, scoop out meat with spoon into a food processor.
- Combine roasted squash, (2) tbsp olive oil, agave or honey, lemon juice, and more sea salt and pepper in processor. Blend until smooth.
- Thoroughly wash and dry scallops, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
- Grill scallops for 2-4 minutes per side or just until char marks appear.
- Slice grilled scallops very thinly. The insides of the scallops should be mostly raw.
- Create a thin layer of the squash purée on a platter.
- Place scallop slices in an overlapping pattern atop the purée.
- Spoon chimichurri sauce over scallops.
- Squeeze lemon juice over entire dish.
- Garnish with avocado, sliced mango, and parsley.