Mexican Cream Scallops with Pasta

You'll need:
  • 16 oz large raw scallops
  • 1 tsp salt (and more to taste)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 12 oz linguine or spaghetti
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c white wine (or chicken stock)
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • a dash of Tajin (optional)

Prep the scallops: Thaw at least 8 hours in the refrigerator, or in the sink by running the bag under cold water until thawed. Trim the scallops by cutting off the bright white muscle on the side, if present. Then put them into a tupperware or freezer bag with a teaspoon each of salt and pepper, mixing to cover the scallops with seasoning.

Make the pasta: Heat a large pot with water over high heat to a boil. Add about a tablespoon of salt, then bring back to a boil and add the pasta, stirring to break up. Let cook 9 to 10 minutes. (Click here for a detailed tutorial on making pasta.)

Make the scallops: Heat 2 Tbs butter and 1 Tbs olive oil on a skillet over medium high heat. When the butter is melted and sizzling, add the scallops, making sure not to overcrowd them in the pan. Leave them undisturbed for 2 minutes, then flip and cook another 2 minutes on the other side. Remove to a bowl lined with aluminum foil, folding it over the scallops to keep them warm, and cook in batches as needed.

Make the sauce: When the scallops are done, put 1/2 c white wine into the pan and deglaze it by stirring up any stuck bits from the scallops with a wooden spoon while bringing the wine to a boil. Let simmer about a minute, then add the heavy cream, chili powder, and garlic. Add Tajin here if desired - it's a zesty chili powder seasoning that contains quite a bit of dried lime zest, so you don't want to add too much or it will overpower the sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt - you'll need it! I added about another teaspoon, but start slowly and season to taste.

Bring it together: Add the scallops to the sauce and cook until warm - this will finish cooking the scallops as well. Drain the pasta when it finishes, and use tongs to serve some on plates. Top with some scallops and pour the sauce over it as you'd like.