Cinnamon and allspice bring out the sweetness of tender bay scallops. The mandarin oranges are nicest when rid of their membrane, but if you're pressed for time, simply pry the segments apart and toss them in. To soak up the aromatic juices, serve over jasmine rice.
- 4 large mandarin oranges (may substitute clementines)
- 1 pound bay scallops, rinsed and patted dry
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium seedless cucumber
- 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1 cup canned, cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Freshly ground black pepper
Peel 2 of the oranges, reserving some of the peel. Use a sharp knife to slice the peel into very thin strips (julienne) to make 2 tablespoons.
Combine the scallops, orange peel slices, cinnamon, allspice and oil in a large stainless-steel bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
While the scallops are marinating, segment the 2 peeled oranges. Working with 1 piece of fruit at a time, run a sharp knife along the sides of the dividing membranes to the core; twist the knife at the core to release the sections. Set aside.
Cut the remaining 2 oranges in half; squeeze their juice into a small bowl and set it aside.
When ready to cook, cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a melon baller to scoop out balls of cucumber flesh. Set aside.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the scallops and orange peel strips to the skillet. Sear, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 3 minutes or just until the scallops are cooked through. Add the garlic, chickpeas, cucumber balls and reserved orange juice, stirring to combine. Heat through and add salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved orange sections and mix well, then remove from the heat. Serve immediately.
Adapted from chef Allen Susser of Chef Allen's in Aventura, Fla.
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
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