I love seared scallops as a first course. They are easy to make and delicious. Having eaten a lot of ceviche in South America lately, I took the concept and broke it out to make seared ceviche scallops. The best seviche I had was at La Mar in Santiago, Chile; it's part of a small Peruvian restaurant chain headed by superchef Gaston Acurio. Another La Mar recently opened in New York.
Sweet potatoes are an integral part of Peruvian cuisine and ceviche is often served on cold potato slices, but I love the idea of serving it on sweet potato pancakes.
One jumbo scallop is enough for a first course. Leftover pancakes will make a great breakfast. This recipe doubles and triples easily.
Ready time: 45 minutes
1 sweet potato, peeled
2 tablespoons potato starch
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 extra-large dry scallops
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon lime rind
2 teaspoons chopped jalapeno pepper
½ cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
Pinch of sugar
Shred sweet potato using the shredder blade of a food processor. Remove from food processor and pat dry. Mix about 1 packed cup with potato starch.
Working in batches, heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons sweet potato mixture, flatten slightly and fry for about 2 minutes per side or until crisp and cooked through. Repeat using the rest of the sweet potato mixture and add an extra tablespoon of oil as needed.
Reserve and keep warm.
Combine lime juice and rind with jalapeno, green onions, chopped coriander and sugar in a mini chop or by hand.
Season scallops with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat.
Add scallops and sear for 1 to 2 minutes a side or until golden brown on both sides.
Scallops should be opaque throughout. Place browned side up on sweet potato pancake and top with salsa.