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Scallop Crudo is a nod to the art of simple cooking, a dish that brings the ocean's freshness straight to the plate with minimal fuss. Perfect for special occasions or adding a festive touch to weeknight dinners, it's ready in just 15 minutes and brimming with clean, bright flavors.
Thinly sliced, the succulent scallops provide a delicate base for the vibrant dressing made from freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice, paired with a silky drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. A pleasant crunch comes from a scattering of toasted pistachios, while a sprinkle of chives and red pepper flakes adds color and a subtle hint of spice to this straightforward but elegant appetizer.
Ingredients You Need to Make Scallop Crudo
- Sea Scallops: As with any dish using raw seafood, choosing fresh, highest-quality, sushi-grade scallops is crucial, for safety and peak flavor. They should have a firm texture, a slightly sweet scent, and a uniform, pale white color.
- Orange Juice: Freshly squeezed juice is best. Choose oranges that are heavy for their size (a good sign of juiciness) and have a slight give when pressed.
- Lemon: A Meyer lemon, if available, will give a sweeter, less acidic juice that complements the scallops well. Otherwise, choose lemons that feel heavy, with a bright, smooth rind.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Opt for an oil that's cold-pressed and has a fruity, peppery note, to add depth to the dressing without overwhelming the subtle scallop flavor.
- Pistachios: Choose toasted pistachios for their warm, nutty flavor and satisfying crunch.
- Fresh Chives: Look for bright green, firm chives for a mild onion flavor and a burst of color in the garnish.
- Red Pepper Flakes: Varieties like Aleppo or Espelette offer a gentle heat and a touch of fruity flavor. Be sure the flakes are a vibrant red, a sign of freshness and potency.
- Flaky Sea Salt: Salts such as Maldon have a clean, mild flavor and a lovely crunch, which not only season the dish but also add a textural component.
The Roots of Crudo
Crudo, meaning "raw" in Italian, is a culinary technique that celebrates the purity and essence of seafood. Its origins trace back to Italian coastal regions, where the freshest catch of the day is served minimally adorned to highlight its natural flavors. This approach to raw seafood preparation has parallels in many world cuisines, but Italian crudo stands out for its simplicity, often dressed with nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of citrus, and a pinch of salt.
- Slicing Scallops: Use a very sharp knife to create thin, even slices. If the scallops are too soft to slice neatly, chill them in the freezer for a few minutes to firm them up.
- Dressing Consistency: Whisk the citrus juices with olive oil until well combined. The emulsion should be consistent, with no separation, to coat the scallops evenly.
- Balancing Flavors: Adjust the red pepper flakes according to your heat preference. Start with a small amount and add more if desired.
- Serving: Serve the crudo immediately after assembling to ensure the scallops remain fresh and the nuts stay crunchy.
- Swap orange juice for blood orange or grapefruit juice for a different citrus twist.
- Replace lemon juice with lime for a sharper tang.
- Use hazelnuts or almonds instead of pistachios for a different nutty crunch.
- Try finely sliced green onions if chives are unavailable.
- Substitute the red pepper flakes with a dash of cayenne pepper for more heat.
- Experiment with different finishing salts like Himalayan pink or Hawaiian black salt.
- Garnish with microgreens or edible flowers for an extra pop of color and interest.
More Easy and Elegant Fish and Seafood Recipes
How to Make Scallop Crudo
Whisk orange juice, lemon juice and zest, and olive oil in a small bowl until emulsified. Pour the dressing onto a serving platter or divide it among four plates.
Slice scallops (side muscle removed) into ¼-inch thick rounds, and lay them over the dressing. Sprinkle with the toasted pistachios, fresh chives, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt, and serve immediately.
- 6 sea scallops sushi grade
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice from ~1 orange
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from ~1 lemon or Meyer lemon
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ounce toasted pistachios coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
- red pepper flakes such as Aleppo or Espelette
- flaky sea salt such as Maldon
- Remove side-muscle from scallops and slice crosswise with a very sharp knife into ¼-inch thick rounds.
- In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, lemon juice and zest and olive oil until emulsified. Pour onto a serving platter or divide among 4 individual plates.
- Arrange sliced scallops over dressing and garnish with pistachios, chives, red pepper flakes and salt. Serve.