Moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle. It has taken me a lot of years and different “diets” to figure it out. I’ve done low-sugar, low-carb, low-fat, those with packaged food you have to buy, and many more. I had great results. The problem came later when I was faced with eating regular food. I did not know how to balance it all. The combination of moderation, portion control, not depriving myself of foods I love, and exercise is what works for me. When I indulge one day I follow it up the next day with light meal like Scallops Hong Kong Style.
Use dry packed sea scallops for the recipe. They may be hard to find. This I know very well. I had to drive 50 miles round-trip to get them from Whole Foods. Why dry packed? Scallops that are wet packed have been soaked in a solution to keep them whiter. The solution will release when you are trying to sear them and you will have too much liquid to get the right sear. Think of it more like steaming at that point. You want a nice brown crust on each side of the scallop. Put them in the pan, don’t move them around or fiddle with them. Let them sear for a couple of minutes then turn them over. Ditto for the other side.
The soy-sherry sauce really makes this dish. The saltiness of the soy sauce is balanced with the sherry. Make sure you use dry sherry or it will be too sweet. It is a very thin sauce added on top of the dish at the end. It flows over the scallops and pools around the sautéed spinach. I like serving Scallops Hong Kong Style with brown rice. It is filling and a great way to soak up the sauce.
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Scallops Hong Kong Style
For the soy-sherry sauce:
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup dry sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
For the scallops:
- 6 to 8 large or jumbo sea scallops dry packed
- Cooking oil*
- Sauteed spinach
- Small piece of fresh ginger cut into thin julienne strips 3/4-inch long
- Scallion thin strips about 3/4-inch long
For the soy-sherry sauce:
In a small saucepan, add the water and sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Add the soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the sherry and sesame oil. Set aside.
For the scallops:
Prepare the scallops by removing the little "foot" (abductor muscle) if not already removed and pat dry. In a large non-stick skillet or saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the scallops to the pan, flat side down, and let them cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes until the bottom has browned. Turn scallops over and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Remove scallops from the pan and place on a plate. The scallops will be translucent in the middle. Let scallops rest while sauteing the spinach.
Once the spinach is finished divide it equally on two plates or low-sided bowls. Place scallops on top of the spinach. Spoon sauce over the scallops. Garnish with ginger and scallions. Serve with a side of brown rice (or white rice if preferred).
*Choose a cooking oil suited for high temperature cooking/searing.
Recipe inspired by and adapted from one on AZCentral website.