Creamy roasted corn with chorizo sausage, chipotle peppers and green chilies, topped with scallops that have been perfectly seared in butter and chorizo oil. This delicious combination of spicy, smokey, sweet, savory, and sour, is crazy good and will be on the table in less than 45 minutes.
Scallops Seared in Chorizo Oil and Served with Creamy Chili-Spiked Roasted Corn
I have served this dish to more dinner guests than probably anything else and it is always a huge hit. It's a decadently delicious and unique combination of flavors and textures, and even though it tastes like something that requires a lot of time and effort, it's remarkably simple to prepare.
I'm fairly certain that it's my husband's favorite dish. At least, it's the first thing he asks for any time I begin a sentence with, "What should I make for...." And, I don't think I've ever served it to dinner guests when they haven't asked for the recipe.
What I'm trying to say is this: If you're looking for a recipe that is a slam-dunk, sure-to-please and easy-to-make situation, this is it.
One of the best things about this recipe on nights when you're entertaining is that all the ingredients can be prepped in advance. Roast the corn, sear the chorizo, and chop the veggies ahead of time. Then, about 15 minutes before you want to serve dinner, start cooking, preferably over good conversation and cocktails.
What's the Difference Between Aged and Fresh Chorizo?
Aged chorizo (Spanish Chorizo) and fresh chorizo (Mexican Chorizo) are so different they probably shouldn’t both be called “chorizo”.
Mexican chorizo is the consistency of ground beef or ground sausage. It’s made with freshly ground pork and seasoned with onions, garlic, cumin, and chili powder.
Spanish chorizo is also made with pork, but packed into casing and cured. It’s seasoned with spicy paprika and air-dried to a semi-hard, sliceable consistency.
For this dish, you want to use Spanish (aged) Chorizo. Mexican chorizo is much fattier. Too fatty, in my opinion. Also, Mexican chorizo is finely ground and breaks apart into very small pieces when you cook it. This makes it difficult to separate from the chorizo oil - an essential step in this recipe because the scallops are seared in chorizo oil.
Spanish (aged) Chorizo, releases just enough flavorful fat in which to sear the scallops. I also think that slices of meaty chorizo (rather than ground chorizo) in this dish provide a delicious contrast to the creamy roasted corn and buttery scallops.
The problem with Spanish Chorizo is that it can be difficult to find.
Sometimes my local supermarket has it, and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve found the same challenge in supermarkets across the country.
If you can’t find Spanish Chorizo, please don’t substitute Mexican Chorizo. Instead, look for Andouille sausage, or even Kielbasa. Andouille sausage has a similar consistency to Spanish Chorizo and is packed with smoky cajun heat that will add a spiciness and depth of flavor.
Kielbasa is a polish sausage that also has a consistency similar to Spanish Chorizo. Like Andouille, Kielbasa also has a smoky flavor, which is important to this dish. However, it’s not spicy at all. To compensate, simply add a dash of cayenne or hot chili powder along with the other spices in the chili.
Creamy Buttermilk Roasted Corn
One of the most important concepts in both cooking and baking is to pay attention to the balance between sour, bitter, spicy, salty, and sweet.
Each of these elements play off each other, enunciating certain flavors and balancing out others. If you've ever tasted something that just isn't "quite right", but you're not sure why, it's likely that the balance between these elements is off.
In this dish, buttermilk is important for two reasons:
- It adds a delicious slightly sour tang that balances the sweetness of the corn and the spiciness of the chilies
- It cuts through the richness of the chorizo oil, adding creaminess without making the dish overly heavy
If you find yourself in a situation without buttermilk, here are several terrific ways to make homemade buttermilk in a matter of minutes.
More Popular Seafood Recipes:
- Baked Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomato Risotto
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- Weeknight Sushi Bowls
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.
- 12 ounces (about 2 ½ cups) roasted corn (*See note below)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 12 ounces aged chorizo sausage links, sliced thin (*See note below)
- ½ cup scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced thin
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 8 ounces diced canned green chilies – OR fresh roasted green chilies, skin and seeds removed and diced
- 1–3 chipotle peppers in adobo, seeds removed and diced (depending on how spicy you want this dish to be)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 12 scallops (1 pound), fresh or frozen and thawed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 limes, cut in half
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage from the pan to a plate. Pour the chorizo oil out of the pan into a small bowl and reserve.
- Return the pan to the burner and turn the heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan along with the scallions, garlic, jalepeno, oregano, green chilies, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Add the roasted corn and chorizo to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the buttermilk, then the cream, then the cilantro. Taste and add more salt if desired. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and cover to keep warm.
Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt.
- Rinse out the skillet and return it to the burner with the heat turned up to medium high. Add the reserved chorizo oil. When the oil is just beginning to smoke, add the scallops. Let cook on one side for 3 minutes, until the bottom of the scallops is a rich golden brown.
- Add the butter to the skillet and turn the scallops over. Cook for 30-60 seconds longer, moving the scallops around in the pan to coat with the butter. Remove the scallops to a plate and drizzle with a teaspoon or two of the butter from the pan. Squeeze the juice from one half of a lime over the scallops.
- To serve, divide the corn and chorizo mixture amongst 4 plates, topping each with 3-4 scallops. Serve with remaining lime halves; squeeze additional juice over the scallops to taste.
- Roasted corn takes about 5 minutes to prepare and then 20 minutes in the oven. Get the corn roasting first, then begin preparing the rest of the dish while the corn roasts. Season the corn with either Tajin Seasoning or mild chili powder.
- Cured chorizo, which comes in links, can be difficult to find in some areas. If your local supermarket doesn’t carry cured chorizo, use andouille sausage instead. In a pinch, you can also use kielbasa sausage. Kielbasa won’t add any heat like chorizo or andouille, so you might want to add a dash or two of cayenne or hot chili powder. See the notes above the recipe for more information about the difference between cured and fresh chorizo.
- No buttermilk? No problem. DIY Buttermilk: How to make your own
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 975Total Fat: 58gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 2379mgCarbohydrates: 85gFiber: 11gSugar: 20gProtein: 44g