Seared Sea Scallops with Roasted Tomatillos and Green Olives

Callos de Hacha con Salsa Verde y Aceitunas
From Season 8, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 4


  • 1pound (6 to 8 medium)tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2fresh serrano chiles, stemmed
  • 1cup white wine
  • 2/3cup pitted green olives, preferably manzanillos, roughly chopped
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4cupfresh epazote, finely chopped
  • 10sprigs fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off), finely chopped
  • 1cup lobster, fish or chicken broth
  • Salt
  • 4strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 12(1 1/4 pounds) sea scallops, preferably ones that are diver caught and dry packed
  • 1cup baby arugula
  • 2tablespoons fresh lime juice


  1. Prepare the tomatillo base. Roast the tomatillos and chiles on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, until blotchy black and soft (the tomatillos will turn from lime green to olive), about 5 minutes. Flip everything over and roast the other side. Cool, then transfer to a blender or food processor, including all the delicious juice the tomatillos have exuded during roasting. Pulse a few times, then add the white wine and olives and process to a coarse puree.
  2.  Finish the sauce. Heat the oil in a large (4-quart) saucepan over medium high. Once hot, add the garlic and stir until golden brown, about 1 minute. Scrape in the tomatillo sauce and cook until the mixture has reduced to the consistency of thick tomato sauce, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the epazote, cilantro and broth and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the consistency is like a light cream sauce. Taste and season with salt, usually 1 teaspoon depending on the saltiness of the broth. Keep warm until you’re ready to serve.
  3.  Cook the bacon. While the sauce is simmering, heat a very large (12-inch) heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high. Add the bacon and cook until crispy and browned, about 10 minutes. Scoop out the bacon (leaving the bacon drippings behind) and drain on paper towels.
  4. Sear the scallops. Heat the skillet with the bacon drippings over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt. When the pan is very hot, lay in the scallops. Saute until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until medium rare. Transfer the scallops to a warm plate.
  5. Finish the dish. In a small bowl, toss the arugula with the lime juice and sprinkle with salt. Ladle the warm tomatillo-olive sauce on the bottom of each of 4 warm dinner plates. Place three scallops on each plate and top with some of the dressed arugula. Sprinkle with bacon. You’re ready to serve.


  1. I made this recipe today. Loved the sauce. Presentation lovely. But I felt the sauce really overpowered the delicate scallops. I will make it all again but I will try a crispy battered fish instead. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Pamalla, I agree with you 100%. The sauce & presentation is lovely; but it was a waste for beautiful expensive sweet scallops. This sauce would work well for almost anything: chicken, white fish, pork or even enchiladas & chilaquiles. It was very delicious, I liked the green olive addition for a punch of flavor not usually found in verde sauces. Arugula is a favorite green of mine.

  2. I made this tonight, it was wonderful the flavors was great , everything came together just right and I have some sauce left over to put on another meat . First time i made Rick recipe and it will not be the last

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