Rick Bayless' Seared Sea Scallops with Roasted Tomato Coconut Cream
3 tablespoons molasses
1 canned chipotle chile en adobo, seeds scraped out, flesh finely chopped
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can
16 large sea scallops (the bigger, the better-about 1 1/4 pounds total), tough opaque "foot" on the side of each scallop pulled off
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups roasted tomato salsa (I am partial to Frontera Roasted Tomato Salsa)
1/2cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Turn on the oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, blend the molasses, chopped chipotle and adobo sauce to make the glaze.
Rinse the scallops and pat them dry. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a very large (12-inch) heavy skillet (my first choices are well-seasoned cast iron or non-stick) over medium-high. Lay in the scallops, making sure they're not crowded-they'll stew rather than sear. If you're not able to fit them in an uncrowded layer, sear the scallops in 2 batches. Cook until browned on one side, 1 to 2 minutes, then turn them over with tongs or a spatula and sear the other side. (They will not be done.) Remove the pan from the heat and place the scallops on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the molasses glaze over the tops of each of the scallops and place the baking sheet into the oven. Roast for 3 or 4 minutes to finish cooking the scallops and set the glaze.
Meanwhile, return the pan to the heat and, when hot, add the salsa, coconut milk and 1 tablespoon of the remaining molasses glaze. Stir for a couple of minutes until the sauce has reduced to the thickness of cold heavy cream. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Ladle a portion of sauce onto each of 4 warm dinner plates. Remove the scallops from the oven and brush them with the reduced molasses glaze that has collected on the baking sheet. Then divide the scallops among the four plates. Sprinkle each plate liberally with chopped cilantro or parsley.