Seared Sea Scallops with blood limes and hazelnuts toasted in butter until the hazelnuts have acquired a buttery crunch, morphing the butter into heavenly toasted brown elixir for your taste buds. Doesn’t that sound just divine? Trust me they taste just as delicious as they sound, with the added bonus of being a rather simple recipe.
This recipe is the product of being gifted a big bag of Australian blood limes from gal pal, Amanda. Foodie friends are the best friends, and when you are close friends this wonderful friendship often results in the exchange of gorgeous product. In this case I was the very happy recipient.
Blood limes are an Australian citrus fruit, but not one created by nature. A relatively new hybrid created in the laboratories of the CSIRO. Blood limes are a hybrid between an Australian native red finger lime and an acid mandarin. They are the result of the CSIRO’s study into salt resistant crops, arriving on the commercial market back in 2004. I personally thank the CSIRO for their hard work, go science and research!
Blood limes are in season now, and if you are an Aussie, go forth and seek! If you live in the USA I believe we may be exporting some of these ruby skinned fruits your direction, keep those eyes peeled.
Blood limes are a tart tasting lime, quite different to a Tahitian lime. I've read on many sites that they are meant to be sweeter than a traditional lime, but I will agree with the CSIRO when they say they are quite acidic like a lemon and I think that is why I pick up the tartness.
What I really love is that the juice vesicles can be removed similarly to the finger lime. Not quite as easily, but with a little effort you end up with blood lime “caviar”.
These scallops are a lovely canapé to serve to guests. They look very pretty and the blood lime is a wonderful talking point. Plus they are damn delicious too. The tang of the blood lime marries so well with the deep toasty flavour of the butter and hazelnuts, which add a textural crunch to the tender sea scallop.
Can’t get your hands on blood limes? Don’t panic you can quite easily replace them with traditional limes. I suggest adding a couple of slithers of lime flesh on top of each scallop, as you won’t be able to achieve the “caviar” look.
And back to Amanda, if you do happen to get your hands on some blood limes, head over to Chew Town for some additional recipes. She has been cooking up a storm and there are some amazing recipes on their way, like this Blood Lime Crème Brulee.
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Seared Scallops, Blood Limes & Hazelnut Brown Butter
- 1 dozen sea scallops on the half shell
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 60 grams hazelnuts roughly crushed
- 60 grams unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives
- 5-6 blood limes
- Remove sea scallops from their shells. Give the shells a quick wash under the tap, dry, and place on a large serving plate.
- Zest and remove the juice vesicles from three blood limes. To remove the vesicles cut the limes in half after zesting, then carefully give them a squeeze between your fingers. They should start to pop out, use a small spoon to aid their removal. Mix zest and lime “caviar” in a small bowl.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan and then add hazelnuts. Cook the hazelnuts (stirring) in the butter until the butter bubbles, froths and starts to brown. Remove saucepan from heat and continue to stir the hazelnuts until the butter froth subsides. Season with salt and pepper. Leave off the heat to one side until needed.
- Place a large heavy based non stick pan over a medium high heat and heat oil. Place scallops in the pan and cook on one side until brown, then turn and cook until just cooked through. Don’t over cook your scallops or they will end up quite rubbery.
- You want your pan to be hot when adding the scallops so they start to sear as soon as they are placed in it. Don’t over crowd the pan as the scallops will sweat instead of sear. If the pan isn’t large enough to take all 12 scallops at once, with plenty of room around each scallop, cook them in two batches.
- Remove scallops from pan once cooked and set aside on some paper towel.
- Place a decent spoonful of hazelnuts on each scallop shell. Top with a scallop and then drizzle with the brown butter. Sprinkle with chives and finish them off with the blood lime zest and “caviar” mix.
- While plating the scallops sear a couple of blood limes in the pan you cooked your scallops in. Cut the blood limes in half, place them in the hot pan flesh side down, and sear. Serve them with the scallops, and guests can squeeze some additional blood lime juice over the top.
- Serve immediately.