Seared Scallops with Thai Red Curry, Coconut Cream and Cherry Tomatoes

This little feast explodes with flavor because of the wildly contrasting tastes… the buttery rich umami seared scallops match perfectly with the spicy red curry, crunchy green haricot vert green beans and the bright sweet cherry tomatoes bursting with flavor, all contrasting wonderfully with the richness of the coconut cream and the savory fish sauce.  

It’s also addictive, like the best meals from Thailand, with the amazing fresh flavors of the lemongrass, Kiffir lime leaves, Thai basil, mint and cilantro.  It’s just a perfect meal when you are in the mood for something really exotic and crazy tasty.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 pound large sea scallops
1/4 cup Thai red curry paste, contains all the salt your sauce will need (we use Mae Ploy brand)
8 oz coconut cream (richer than coconut milk, which is just coconut cream watered down)
1 cup ALREADY reduced chicken and/or clam broth
8 oz haricot vert, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 inches ginger, grated, about 2 tablespoons
2 Thai or Serrano peppers, cut into fairly thin slices (but ONLY if you like this feast very hot)
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 large shallot, finely minced
8 Makrut (Kiffir) lime leaves, sliced into thin strips or pureed
2 tablespoons fish sauce (we use Red Boat)
4 limes, squeezed
2 tablespoons Mirin or 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
4 tablespoons coconut oil or canola oil
20 – 25 cherry tomatoes, depending on size
1/2 cup basil, roughly cut (Thai basil is best)
1/2 cup mint, roughly cut
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly cut
1 lemongrass, minced, about 1/2 cup or use 2 tablespoons Tom Yum paste
1 tablespoon galangal, shredded (optional but wonderful)

Prep Work

If you are using lemongrass, remove the outer leaves, cut into pieces and mince in a food processor. If you are using the galangal, carefully cut about one inch of the extremely hard galangal root into smaller pieces and include with the lemongrass to mince in the food processor.

Cooking

In a 12 inch saute pan, or wok, heat the oil on medium heat until just hot and add the garlic, ginger, shallots and hot peppers (only if you want this feast very hot). Stirring often, fry until fragrant and sizzling, about a minute.

Add the red curry paste, stirring often, until aromatic and loose, about a minute.

Add the chicken and/or clam broth, lime leaves, lime juice, galangal, lemongrass (or Tom Yum paste), fish sauce, Mirin or brown sugar and haricot vert, simmer on high heat until the beans just begin to soften, about 6 minutes.

Add the coconut cream and simmer until married, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and simmer for about a minute, until they first begin to soften, and then add the mint, cilantro, basil and simmer until the mint is softened, about 30 seconds, keeping a portion of all the herbs aside for garnish.

Sear the scallops in the coconut or canola oil until browned on both sides, 4 minutes on high for the first side, 2 minutes for the second side. Add a pinch of salt to each scallop and then add to the curry sauce.

Enjoy this evocative umami feast on jasmine rice or our favorite, Pad Thai noodles.