Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grilled Mojito Scallops and Coconut Mint Rice

Today, I decided that for dinner I was going to embrace my mint in as many ways as possible. I spent some time thinking about different proteins to pair it with, how I could incorporate it into some side dishes, and what vegetables it would work well with. Also, I wanted to use mint in more of a raw form and create some savory dishes with this refreshing ingredient. I kept coming back to one of my favorite mint food memories. A few summers ago while on vacation at Lake Tahoe, our family went out to dinner and sat out on the restaurant patiothatoverlooked the lake where we enjoyed some refreshing mojitos. That was the first time I had a mojito and ever since I like to enjoy this refreshing cocktail on hot summer days just like that one.

So, in tribute, I decided to create a meal with similar flavors. As my protein, I chose scallops; with their sweet flavor and versatility in pairing I thought they would be a good choice. In order to provide some complexity in flavor and texture to the scallops, I grilled my scallops after coating them with a spicy and sweet light rub. Brown sugar in the rub aided in creating a nice crunchy sear, while the garlic powder and cumin added some nice distinct flavor additions. Then to really provide the traditional mojito flavor I served them with a delicate drizzle of themojito sauce, which incorporated the citrus, rum, and mint that I love from the mojito cocktail. The mint in this sauce was added after it was reduced so that it would remain fresh, while the warmth of the sauce could still absorb the taste and aroma.

Now, what to serve with my Grilled Mojito Scallops? I chose to create Coconut Mint Rice as my side. The creamy texture is wonderful on it’s own but adding some lime zest, fresh lime juice, and freshly minced mint at the end really set this dish off. Finally, I also prepared some simple grilled bell peppers and onions, which were coated with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Putting these three components of a meal together produced a delightful dance of mint on my plate, something that everyone in my family enjoyed.

And now shall we say, “Bon appetite, now we may eat!”

Grilled Mojito Scallops

(Serves 4-6)

24 large scallops

2 T garlic powder

1 T brown sugar

1/8 tsp cumin, toasted lightly in pan

1/8 tsp cinnamon, toasted lightly in pan

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Mojito Sauce

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup rum

¼ cup lime juice

2 T brown sugar

2 mint leaves, minced

In a dry pan, lightly toast the cumin and cinnamon, just until fragrant. To make the rub, mix together the garlic powder, brown sugar, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels, then season lightly with the rub mixture. Heat grill and let the scallops sit until the grill is heated to about 400. Grill scallops, until seared on each side and cooked through, about 10 minutes. While waiting for the grill to heat, start the mojito sauce. Bring orange juice, rum, lime juice, and brown sugar to a simmer and reduce in half, about 10 to 15 minutes. Take the sauce off the heat and mix in the fresh minced mint. Serve the scallops with alight drizzle of the mojito sauce.

Coconut Mint Rice

(Serves 4-6)

1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)

1 cup water

1 clove garlic

1 T olive oil

1 ½ cups uncooked rice

½ tsp salt

1 tsp lime zest

1 ½ T fresh lime juice

6 mint leaves, minced

Heat oven to 350. In a 3 quart pan heat olive oil and add garlic, cook till fragrant. Add rice and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add coconut milk, water, and salt. Bring to a boil then cover and place into heated oven and bake for about 10 minutes. When rice is cooked through remove it from the oven and add lime zest and juice. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Add mince mint and mix through before serving.


  1. This looks like the perfect summer dish. Such light and bright flavors. I love mint and coconut, so I'm sure this would be a hit!

  2. I have hit the jack pot for mint recipes, thank you so much.
    Now I just have to find some scallops worthy of your recipe.