This dynamic dish of spicy, limey sliced raw scallops is one of the signatures at our restaurant Leña Brava. There, on a glass plate we make a beautiful arrangement of scallops, chile, red onion, cilantro, cucumber and avocado. In a cocktail shaker, we muddle a few slices of serrano chile, a sprig of cilantro and a thin slice of red onion. To that we add a few ice cubes and 3 to 4 tablespoons of the spicy lime broth. As we set the scallops on the table, we seal up the cocktail shaker, shake it as we would a cocktail to chill the “broth” and give it a final infusion of the muddled aromatics, then we pour it over the scallop-and-vegetable arrangement.
- 12 large sea scallops (I prefer the ones sold as “dry pack scallops” for the fullest flavor)
- 3largefresh serrano chiles, thinly sliced, seeds and all
- 1/2small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1large cucumber (for this preparation, I’d choose an English/hothouse cucumber or a couple of the pickling cucumbers from the farmer’s market), thinly sliced, then slices cut into half moons
- 1largeavocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into medium cubes
- For the Spicy Lime Broth
- 1/2large large cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2fresh serrano chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1cup lime juice
- A generousteaspoon salt
- 1/2teaspoon sugar
Slice each scallop into 4 rounds and shingle 8 slices onto each of 6 serving plates. Strew each plate with serrano slices, red onion slices, cucumber half moons, diced avocado and cilantro leaves. In a blender jar, combine the cucumber, serrano chiles, lime juice, salt and sugar. Blend until smooth, then strain. Pour a portion of the spicy lime “broth” over each plate of scallops and serve right away.