Grilled Sea Scallops with Cilantro & Black Bean Sauce
Here, Chinese fermented black beans are stir-fried with garlic and ginger, flavor-enhanced with Chinese or Japanese rice wine, and blended into a delicate puree that makes a delicious dip to complement all sorts of grilled seafood, including plump sea scallops. Sweet mirin counterbalances the saltiness of the beans.
Make Ahead Tip: The sauce (Steps 1-2) will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Equipment: Six 10-inch skewers
Notes: Fermented black beans, oxidized soybeans that are salt-dried, have a savory, salty and slightly bitter flavor. They are frequently used in Chinese stir-fries, marinades and sauces. Before using, they should be soaked in water for 10 to 30 minutes to get rid of excess salt. When purchasing fermented black beans, look for shiny and firm beans (avoid dull and dry beans with salt spots). Once open, store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
Black bean-garlic sauce, made from pureed salted and fermented black soybeans, is a widely used condiment in Chinese cooking and can be found with the Asian food in most supermarkets.
Shao hsing (or Shaoxing) is a seasoned rice wine available in many Asian specialty markets and some large supermarkets. Japanese sake or dry sherry are acceptable substitutes.
Mirin is a low-alcohol rice wine essential to Japanese cooking. Look for it in your supermarket with the Asian or gourmet ingredients. An equal portion of sherry or white wine with a pinch of sugar may be substituted.
We prefer “dry” sea scallops (not treated with sodium tripolyphosphate, or STP). Scallops treated with STP (“wet” scallops) are mushy, less flavorful and will not brown properly.
Tip: How to oil a grill rack: Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)
1/2 other carbohydrate, 3 lean meat, 1 fat