Recipe

Miso Butter–Basted Scallops with Bok Choy and Chile

by Tim Chin

Here I have a quick, easy scallop dish that illustrates a couple of important basic cooking principles—and it’s built for speed. To get a perfect sear, I briefly salt the scallops to draw out excess moisture. I start the scallops in a ripping hot skillet and slowly move them to distribute oil and heat evenly. I then baste the scallops with a miso butter to impart subtle complexity and to further boost browning. For a nice pan sauce with good shine and velvety texture, I whisk additional miso butter into some reduced sake. With a little wilted bok choy and some heat from a chile, this is a tasty, simple dish you can whip up any time you want to impress on the fly.

Photography by Daniel van Ackere.
Food Styling by Marie Piraino.

Yield
Serves 2 to 3
SFS_Scallops_033.jpg
Ingredients
340 g large sea scallops, tendons removed
1.5 g kosher salt
56 g unsalted butter, softened
56 g white miso
14 g plus 28 g vegetable oil, divided
450 g bok choy, stalks cut into ¾-inch pieces and leaves cut into 2-inch pieces
30 g scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced thin
30 g Fresno chile (1 chile), stemmed and cored, half sliced into thin rings, half minced
6 g garlic (1 clove), minced
6 g fresh ginger, grated
10 g lemon juice
60 g sake
15 g rice vinegar
12 ounces large sea scallops, tendons removed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons white miso
1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound bok choy, stalks cut into ¾-inch pieces and leaves cut into 2-inch pieces
3  scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced thin
1  large Fresno chile, stemmed and cored, half sliced into thin rings, half minced
1  garlic clove, minced
1 (½-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ cup sake
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Essential Equipment
Instructions
    • 340 g large sea scallops, tendons removed 
    • 1.5 g kosher salt 
    • 56 g unsalted butter, softened 
    • 56 g white miso
    Line large plate with paper towels. Sprinkle scallops evenly on both sides with salt. Transfer scallops to prepared plate and place second layer of paper towels on top. Refrigerate scallops and allow moisture to release onto paper towels, at least 10 or up to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, using fork, thoroughly combine butter and miso in small bowl. Transfer 70 grams (5 tablespoons) miso butter to second small bowl.
    • 14 g vegetable oil 
    • 450 g bok choy, stalks cut into ¾-inch pieces and leaves cut into 2-inch pieces 
    • Scallion whites 
    • Minced chile 
    • 6 g garlic (1 clove), minced 
    • 6 g fresh ginger, grated 
    • 10 g lemon juice 
    • Kosher salt 
    • 60 g sake 
    • 15 g rice vinegar
    Heat 14 grams oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add bok choy and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in scallion whites, minced chile, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer bok choy to medium bowl; stir in lemon juice and season with salt to taste. Return pan to high heat and add sake and vinegar; cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, add 70 grams (5 tablespoons) miso butter, and whisk until sauce is smooth and emulsified, about 30 seconds. Pour sauce over bok choy in bowl and toss to combine; cover to keep warm. Rinse skillet and wipe dry with paper towels. 
    • 28 g vegetable oil
    Blot scallops thoroughly dry with fresh paper towels. Heat remaining 28 grams oil in skillet over high heat until smoking. Add scallops in single layer, flat side down, arranging them in ring near exterior of skillet, and cook, tilting pan and moving scallops occasionally to distribute oil, until well browned, 1½ to 2 minutes. 
  1. Reduce heat to low. Slide scallops to back of skillet, opposite handle, and add remaining miso butter to front of skillet. Using tongs, flip scallops. Once butter has melted, tilt skillet so butter pools near base of handle. Using metal spoon, continuously spoon butter over scallops, concentrating on areas where crust is less browned. Baste until sides of scallops are firm and centers register 115 degrees F/46 degrees C, about 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat and transfer scallops to large plate.
    • Scallion greens 
    • Chile rings
    Divide bok choy between plates. Divide scallops between plates, seared side up, and spoon browned butter in pan over top. Sprinkle with scallion greens and chile rings. Serve. 
Instructions
    • 12 ounces large sea scallops, tendons removed 
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt 
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
    • 3 tablespoons white miso
    Line large plate with paper towels. Sprinkle scallops evenly on both sides with salt. Transfer scallops to prepared plate and place second layer of paper towels on top. Refrigerate scallops and allow moisture to release onto paper towels, at least 10 or up to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, using fork, thoroughly combine butter and miso in small bowl. Transfer 5 tablespoons miso butter to second small bowl.
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
    • 1 pound bok choy, stalks cut into ¾-inch pieces and leaves cut into 2-inch pieces 
    • Scallion whites 
    • Minced chile 
    • 1 garlic clove, minced 
    • 1 (½-inch) piece ginger, grated 
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice 
    • Kosher salt 
    • ¼ cup sake 
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add bok choy and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in scallion whites, minced chile, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer bok choy to medium bowl; stir in lemon juice and season with salt to taste. Return pan to high heat and add sake and vinegar; cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, add 5 tablespoons miso butter, and whisk until sauce is smooth and emulsified, about 30 seconds. Pour sauce over bok choy in bowl and toss to combine; cover to keep warm. Rinse skillet and wipe dry with paper towels. 
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    Blot scallops thoroughly dry with fresh paper towels. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over high heat until smoking. Add scallops in single layer, flat side down, arranging them in ring near exterior of skillet, and cook, tilting pan and moving scallops occasionally to distribute oil, until well browned, 1½ to 2 minutes.
  1. Reduce heat to low. Slide scallops to back of skillet, opposite handle, and add remaining miso butter to front of skillet. Using tongs, flip scallops. Once butter has melted, tilt skillet so butter pools near base of handle. Using metal spoon, continuously spoon butter over scallops, concentrating on areas where crust is less browned. Baste until sides of scallops are firm and centers register 115 degrees F/46 degrees C, about 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat and transfer scallops to large plate.
    • Scallion greens 
    • Chile rings
    Divide bok choy between plates. Divide scallops between plates, seared side up, and spoon browned butter in pan over top. Sprinkle with scallion greens and chile rings. Serve. 
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