Seared Scallops pair perfectly with creamy coconut rice and sweet pineapple salsa for the perfect summer dinner!
Let’s talk about how seared scallops are so buttery and how they are meant to be with creamy coconut rice and bright, sweet and spicy pineapple salsa.
And how this is basically dinner on repeat for the rest of summer.
Not to mention, we should talk about how easy it is to make. Really!
Although there are 3 parts to this recipe, it’s incredibly approachable.
First things first: the Pineapple Salsa can be made in advance (or hello, even before everything else as it sits in the fridge and the flavors meld together!). How EASY is that already? Let’s walk through the rest…
How To Make Coconut Rice
When I said easy, it was no joke. Coconut rice can be paired with so many dishes, it’s not even funny. It’s delicious, and creamy, and transports you to a tropical island immediately.
We have two options: stovetop or the Instant Pot !
THREE ingredients for either. THREE. SERIOUSLY. Grab some jasmine rice (oh, the flavor!), a can of coconut milk, and a pinch of salt. I told you it was easy. You’re going to be talking about this for ages. And making it for just about everything.
If you’re using the instant pot , you’ll add a little more rice since the liquid doesn’t evaporate as much. In either method, you’ll let the rice cook and in less than 20 minutes the rice will be done.
As it cooks, you can start the scallops. They, too, take only a matter of minutes. This is 100% a few-ingredient meal. One that looks like it could be complicated, but absolutely is not. So onto it…
How to Pan Sear Scallops
If you haven’t pan-seared scallops before, be prepared for your life to change!
When I say easy, I mean easy! A little salt and pepper, some butter, and a hot pan are all you need to get a perfectly crisp exterior and a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth interior to your scallops. All. You. Need.
So, step 1: a hot pan. This is going to ensure your scallops get a good sear on them – that golden brown crispiness? Hot pan required.
You’ll want to be sure to pat the scallops dry, and salt and pepper their ends (the flat part of their cylinder shape). Add the butter to the hot skillet, where it will begin to melt, and bubble, and likely slightly smoke if your pan is hot enough.
Place the scallops in, giving them a little breathing room, on a flat side. Let it cook for about a minute and a half until golden brown exterior forms on that side. The scallop will come up easily if it’s ready (it shouldn’t be sticking – if it is, give it another few seconds).
I love to use tongs to gently turn them over to the other side for another minute or two (depending on their size) until it’s just as crispy and golden as the other side. You want to be sure they’re not overcooked, the center should be just translucent.
Now, take those perfectly seared scallops and top them on a layer of coconut rice and pineapple salsa. Immediately find yourself transported to a tropical oasis.
The coconut rice is heavenly creamy and pairs PERFECTLY with the sweetness of the pineapple salsa and scallops. The salsa also adds texture with the fresh crunch and a hint of spice. Not to mention the cilantro takes freshness to the next level. It all just works SO. WELL. together.
Want to sub out scallops? Go ahead and give shrimp a try! Sear it up just the same, and serve for another twist on the tropical dinner. Those are my favorites, but most seafood/fish will work well!
Seared Scallops with Coconut Rice & Pineapple Salsa
- 3/4 cup Jasmine Rice 1 cup for Instant Pot
- 1 can 14 ounces Unsweetened Coconut Milk
- 1 batch pineapple salsa
- 1 pound approximately 16 Sea Scallops, rinsed and pat dry*
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- Cilantro for garnish or to mix in rice
- Prep the pineapple rice before beginning to cook the other parts of this meal to make it easy on yourself. 🙂
- Coconut Rice on Stovetop: Combine jasmine rice, coconut milk, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; stir once. Cover with a lid (or foil); reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand (covered) for 5-10 minutes, fluff with a fork, and plate.
- Coconut Rice in the Instant Pot: Use 1 cup of jasmine rice; add it to the instant pot with the can of coconut milk and a pinch of salt. Cover and make sure the vent is set to sealed. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes; release the steam carefully and fluff with a fork.
- Seared Scallops: While the rice is resting (or right before it's finished cooking), begin prepping the scallops. Pat the scallops dry. Salt and pepper the flat sides of the scallops. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the butter; when it is bubbly, and the scallops (giving them room between each other), flat side down. Cook for 1-1 1/2 minutes until a golden brown "crust" forms and they easily come off of the pan. Flip and cook for another 1 - 1 1/2 minutes until golden brown. The center will be translucent; be careful to not overcook!
- Plate the coconut rice, pineapple salsa, and the scallops together. Garnish with additional cilantro and serve.
This post was originally published in June 2015; in August 2019 the photos were updated – as well as a few recipe tweaks (like adding IP!)
This recipe is part of our Date Night Recipes to Love roundup. Check it out!