Bacon has had its day in the sun – bacon explosions, Baconnaise, bacon soda, etc… I get it. I love bacon too, but I also have a soft spot in my heart for its spicy Spanish cousin – chorizo.
Like bacon, Spanish chorizo is cured pork. Only in this case the meat is ground with garlic and smoky/spicy paprika, stuffed into sausage casings, and then smoked and/or air cured. The end result is a very earthy and complex mix of smoke, a hint of sweetness, and a nice tangy finish.
I can eat chorizo-laced snacks all day long. But, like bacon, chorizo is also good to add at the start of cooking so that its flavors can spread throughout a dish. This is a recipe that makes good use of that.
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, undrained
4 ounces chorizo, diced
3 cloves garlic
1-2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Put the garlic and salt in a food possessor and give it a whirl until the garlic is finely minced. Add the jar of red peppers (juice included) and puree until smooth.
In a medium skillet over low heat, add the chorizo and olive oil. Raise the heat until the chorizo starts to sweat out all of that lovely red fat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring ever once in a while, until the chorizo starts to crisp up a bit.
Add the pepper puree, stir to combine, and raise heat until it starts to bubble. Cook 5 to 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat, but keep warm.
2-3 pounds diver scallops
2 food-grade wooden planks (I used Maple), soaked for at least an hour
1 teaspoon Chesapeake Bay seasoning
Drizzle of olive oil
Set your grill up for a direct cook over medium-high (450°F) heat.
Rinse and drain the scallops. Pat dry. Push them into a large bowl and drizzle them with oil. Toss to coast. Dust with seasoning and toss to coat again.
Arrange scallops on the planks, trying not to crowd them too much. Put the planks on the grill, close the lid, and cook until they just turn opaque and start to firm up – about 10-15 minutes. You want them about 130°F internal.
Remove the scallops from the grill and toss with the pepper sauce. Put the skillet over medium heat and just warm everything up for a bit. Do NOT overcook the scallops.
Plate and serve.
Loved the combination of the tender, meaty scallops with the warm and slightly spicy sauce. Every bite that had a bit of chorizo in it was remarkable and the whole dish had a great smoky undertone.
The scallops were about an ounce a piece, so 3 scallops with sauce are only 150 calories and 4 Weight Watchers points.