My seared scallops with mango salsa make a light summer meal that takes less than 30 minutes to cook. These sweet and juicy sea scallops are seared to golden perfection and served with a delightful mango salsa. This post is sponsored by Calphalon. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Beyond Sweet and Savory possible.
Summer is my favorite time for those barely cooked meals. When it’s scorching hot, who wants to spend hours next to the stove! For my monthly partnership with Calphalon, I’m so excited to share a light summer recipe of seared scallops with mango salsa. The sea scallops are seared to golden perfection and paired with a mango salsa bringing a tropical flavor and gentle heat from the Serrano peppers.
Sea scallops: ask your fishmonger where the scallops came from and when they’ve been caught. You want sea scallops that are large, fresh, glossy, untreated, and caught within 48 hours of cooking. Treated scallops means they have been soaked in the phosphate solution that’s often used to preserve and make them plump resulting in a metallic taste.
Champagne mango: also known as Ataulfo mangoes, they’re at peak season from June until August. These sun-kissed Champagne mangoes have creamy texture, floral fragrance, and a lot sweeter than other varieties. They’re also less fibrous, making them the ideal mango for salads, salsas, and frozen treat.
Essential knife skills
For this recipe, you’ll be doing a lot of slicing, dicing, and chopping. Mastering these knife techniques are essential to making your kitchen prep and cooking experiences more efficient and pleasant. Even before you learn these skills, it’s important to have a set of quality knives. They will be your kitchen workhorse.
My go-to knives are the paring, slicing, chef, and Santouka knives from the Calphalon Contemporary™ SharpIN™ Nonstick 13-Piece Cutlery Set. Made with fully forged, high-carbon, German no-stain steel, you can feel the superior quality of these knives. They are crazy sharp with an innovative design of a nonstick coating for superior food release. I love the built-in ceramic sharpeners that automatically sharpen the knives with every use.
For slicing small produce, I like using the Calphalon slicing knife. To slice the pepper, hold it steady with your non-knife hand, using the claw grip by letting your fingertips curl under and knuckles pressing down on the ingredient to keep it from rolling or sliding. Hold the tip of the blade against the cutting board with the knife angled upwards. With the tip of the blade in constant contact with the cutting board, pull the knife backwards slightly until the blade slices into the pepper and continue by pressing downwards and forwards, using the full length of the blade to slice through your food.
Dicing is the process where all produce in their irregular and lumpy shapes are turned into small, neat cubes that cook uniformly. To get small dices, cut the cucumber into quarter-inch planks, then further reduce them into quarter-inch strips. Gather those strips up, turn them again and cut them into a small dice. A santoku knife is a great all purpose knife that’s perfect for dicing. You need a smooth, thin blade strong enough to cut through some tougher veggies, but not so large that you can’t get what you need into tiny one-eighth-inch cubes.
For chopping leafy herbs, I like using a chef’s knife and the claw grip technique. Start with clean herbs and stems intact. Hold them in a bunch over your cutting board, and run your knife through them at a 45-degree angle, trimming off the leaves into a pile. Grab all the leaves into your palm, and using the “claw” grip and use a rocking motion to chop the herbs. Gather all the chopped herbs up, turn the pile 90 degrees, and chop them again for a rough chop. Repeat the process twice for a medium chop.
The mango’s skin peels easily with a paring knife. The Calphalon paring knife is a great all-purpose knife with a slightly curved blade ideal for precision tasks like peeling fruits and vegetables, and other intricate work like de-veining shrimp and removing the seeds from peppers.
Once the skin is peeled, cup the mango with one hand while using a slicing knife to make lengthwise and crosswise cuts in it. You should end up with grid-like lines in this half of your mango.
To dice the mango, use your non knife hand to cup the mango and use the slicing knife to slice the mango flesh horizontally away from you. Depending on the size of the dices you want, make one or two horizontal cuts. Repeat the process for the remaining mango flesh.
Unlike a tomato salsa, this mango salsa is more of a chopped salad with mango, cucumber, shallot, Serrano peppers, and cilantro seasoned with lime juice, salt, and pepper. With a tropical, sweet flavor and chunky texture, this mango salsa pairs well with protein especially seafood like scallops, shrimp, and fish. The salsa can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.
Tips for searing scallops
Searing scallops might seem intimidating, but it’s an easy skill to master. Here’s how to get it right every time. The first trick to getting perfectly seared scallops is to remove any excess moisture prior to cooking. To get a nice crust, they must be as dry as possible. Even if they look dry already, blot them with a paper towel.
The second trick is getting the right temperature. Get the pan hot enough with the oil shimmering and just starting to smoke. If they don’t sizzle the second they hit the pan, they won’t develop that nice golden brown crust.
Cook them for 2-3 minutes per side. While the scallops are cooking, leave them be. Don’t move them around. Only flip them after 3 minutes. Overcooking scallops will result in a dry, rubbery texture. If the scallops don’t develop that golden crust, either the pan is overcrowded and/or the pan isn’t hot enough.
With my Calphalon Premier™ Hard-Anodized Nonstick 12-inch fry pan, the scallops are seared perfectly every time. It delivers a longer-lasting, superior nonstick performance, 40% longer than Calphalon Classic™ for effortless food release even with delicate proteins like scallops and fish.
In less than 30 minutes, from prep to finish, you get a light and delicious summer dinner. The tropical flavor and gentle heat from the mango salsa enhance the natural sweetness of these perfectly seared scallops. This meal of seared scallops with mango salsa is what my summer dreams by the seaside are made of!
Seared scallops with mango salsa
- 1.5 pounds fresh sea scallops, untreated
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1 Champagne mango, finely diced
- 1 Persian cucumber, finely diced
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsps cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 Serrano pepper, finely sliced
- Juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- To make the mango salsa, combine mango, cucumber, shallot, Serrano pepper, and cilantro in a bowl. Toss with lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside.
- To prep the scallops, quickly rinse them under cold water. Check each scallop for its side muscle. To remove it, pinch and peel it off with your hands. Transfer the cleaned scallops to a plate lined with a paper towel. Gently press a second piece of paper towel over top to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Season both sides with salt and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Pour in oil to lightly coat the surface. Heat the oil until it shimmers and you see first wisps of smoke.
- Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, place the scallops into the skillet, flat side down, and cook without touching or tossing until the underside is deep golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Use a thin spatula to gently turn them over. Cook on the second side until the flesh at top and bottom looks opaque but there is still a faintly translucent strip in the middle, about 2 minutes, depending on size. Transfer scallops to a plate.
- When ready to serve, spoon the mango salsa onto a plate and top with scallops.