Searing Scallops on Salt Plate

Ample Bites recently acquired a 8″ x 16″ x 2″ thick Himalayan salt plate.

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Salt plates or salt blocks can be used for searing, chilling or curing foods. Ample Bites first attempt at using the salt plate involved searing scallops on high heat. The salt plate is placed directly over a gas cooktop burner and gradually brought up to temperature over a period of about 45 minutes. This gradual heating helps to prevent the plate from cracking.

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The scallops are seared directly on the salt plate with no seasoning. The salt plate imparts a mildly salty crust to the scallops as they are seared.

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Salt Crust Scallops with Thai Lime Dipping Sauce
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Salt Block Cooking, Mark Bitterman, 2013)

For preparation with Himalayan Salt Plate

Serves 4

¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup Thai fish sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 hot chile pepper, such as habanero or Scotch bonnet, stem and seeds removed, minced (for a milder sauce use jalapeno or Serrano)
¼ cup finely shredded carrot
1 ¼ pounds large sea scallops (about 16)
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place salt plate over low heat on a gas grill or stovetop for 10 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and heat for 10 more minutes. Turn the heat to medium-high and heat the plate for another 20 minutes.

To make the dipping sauce, mix the lime juice, fish sauce, ¼ cup water, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, chile pepper, and carrot; set aside.

While the salt plate heats, pat the scallops dry and pull off the gristly side tendon, if not already removed. Season the scallops with black pepper and let stand at room temperature until the salt plate is hot.

When the salt plate is very hot (you should only be able to hold your hand above it for just a few seconds), place the scallops on the hot salt plate and sear until browned and springy to the touch but still a little soft in the center; about 3 minutes per side. Work in batches if your salt plate cannot comfortably hold all of the scallops with an inch or two of space between them.

Transfer the scallops to a serving plate and serve with the dipping sauce.

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