Seared Scallops Over Spring Asparagus

Serves 4

Seared Scallops Over Spring Asparagus


Adapted from our cookbook, Real Maine Food


  • 1 lb dry, Gulf of Maine scallops
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil or other neutral high- smoke-point oil, such as grapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp. thinly sliced shallot
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 2.5 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 to 2 hot chiles, such as serrano or bird’s eye, thinly sliced (including seeds)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. grated lime zest
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed


  1. In a 12-inch cast-iron pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and fry until brown and crispy. Transfer the shallot to a paper towel and pat gently to absorb excess oil.
  2. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Melt  2 tbsp. oil in a frying pan over high heat. When pan is hot, add scallops. Sear both sides, 1-3 minutes per side, then immediately remove from the pan to avoid overcooking.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, chiles, and sugar. Set aside.
  4. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, and add asparagus, seasoning to taste. Cook until the asparagus stalks are blistered on all sides, and remove from heat.
  5. Arrange the asparagus stalks flat over the bottom of a deep serving platter. Arrange the scallops on top of the asparagus. Whisk the lime-chile sauce one more time to ensure it’s evenly mixed, then pour the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle the cilantro and reserved shallots on top of the dish and serve immediately.