Food Eyeswoon Kitchen:

Grilled Scallops with Pickled Melon

Photographs by Sarah Elliott

Last week I was slapped in the face by my love of cooking as I feel deep in the rhythm of doing what I do. That’s sounds rather abrupt, but it was honestly how I felt. These past six months I have been consumed by the rather dreamy but also ridiculously intense process of developing recipes for my cookbook. And while every time I cook, I am abundantly aware of how connected I feel, I will share that recipe development is a different kind of cooking. I am an intuitive cook. I throw caution to the wind with a little bit of this and a whole lotta that, riffing with flavors and feeling and tasting as I go, rather than measuring precisely. Don’t get me wrong, I am always acutely aware of how fortunate I am to be doing what I love and putting it forth in a (pinch me, please!) cookbook – it is a dream come true. But truth be told, this style of cooking is without doubt more rigid than how I normally approach food.

Anyway, last week I found myself at Stuarts, my local fish market in Amagansett, when day boat scallops came in, just off the docks. I don’t really make scallops all too often at home but figured, why not! I snatched them up with absolutely no idea of how I would prepare them. Once home, I foraged within the fridge to find some honeydew melon, a single Kirby cucumber, a jalapeño, and a knob of ginger. With this, I began to play and fell down the swoony rabbit hole of creation. I was chopping and slicing, nibbling and adjusting as I went. Reggae was blasting from the speakers as the sun was streaming in and I found myself lost in the ritualistic joys of summer cooking. Waiting for the grill to heat, I quickly picked some shallots and thought, hmmmmm…lemme throw some melon into the pickling liquid. I drizzled those gleaming-white suckers with olive oil, salt and pepper and placed them on a smoking-hot grill to achieve those swoony char marks. When I took them off, I topped them with this unusual yet delicious relish of ginger, jalapeño, and the duo of pickled elements – my honeydew and shallots. The finishing touch was a heap of the most delicate red shiso microgreens, which honestly took the whole dish into swoon-status. Its herbaceous flavors are closely related to the mint family, and it is often used in Asian cuisine. I love that you cannot really place the herb. It is citrusy with a hint of mint – or is that basil, or cilantro? I told you, hard to pinpoint. Anyway, it is rather delish and perfectly pairs with the sting of the ginger and jalapeno, but also balances the pickled and sweet elements in the relish. Good times in the EyeSwoon kitchen!

Grilled Scallops with Pickled Melon Relish

EyeSwoon Kitchen


Serves 4 as appetizer

For the Scallops

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, plus more for oiling grill
  • 12 large scallops, side muscle removed
  • ½ teasoon Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • maldon sea salt

For the Relish

  • ¼ cup white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 shallot sliced thin on mandolin
  • ¼ honeydew, rind removed, cut into 3 – ½ slices, then cut into small cubes ( approx. 1 cup)
  • Kirby cucumber, cubed (approx. ½ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon finely diced jalapeno (from 1 jalapeno)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • zest and juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • small handful red shiso microgreens, plus more for serving
  • salt + pepper

The Prep

  1. Combine vinegar, kosher salt, pepper, sugar, and 3 tablespoons water in a medium bowl; add sliced shallot and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Add the diced melon and let stand for an additional 15 minutes. Drain the liquid but reserve a few tablespoons.
  2. In a separate medium size bowl, combine the shallots and melon with the cubed cucumber, jalapeno and ginger. Add the lime juice, zest, with the olive oil and the red shiso microgreens. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add some of the reserve pickling liquid as needed to taste
  3. Prepare grill for medium-high heat; oil grate. coat scallops with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Place the scallops on grill, flat side down. Grill, turning once, until lightly charred and just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve scallops with the pickled melon relish and finish additional shiso microgreen garnish and flaky maldon sea salt.
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