Firecracker Curried Scallops with Linguine

Whenever I hear the word “quick” or “light” to describe a recipe, I tend to equate it with “light on flavour”. The irony is that most of the things I cook require less than 15 minutes of prep and a total of less than an hour to complete. I guess this means I should give “quick” recipes some more credit.

This one is truly a quick weeknight meal that takes about 15 minutes from start to finish, yet it’s full of flavour and packs a wallop of heat. There isn’t really a “sauce”, other than the oil and any liquid from the scallops, but it’s perfect for coating the noodles with the aromatic curry and toasty browned ginger and garlic. You can adjust the heat level, by adding more or less cayenne pepper and the scallions and cilantro add a bit of color and freshness at the end.

I like using scallops because they’re packed with umami, but you could just as easily do this with shrimp, chicken or tofu. You might be wondering why I didn’t choose an asian noodle, but scallops are on the softside (when cooked properly), so I really like the textural contrast of linguine cooked al dente.

8 oz. linguine
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs fresh ginger minced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 lb. bay scallops
1 Tbs garam masala
1/8-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (depends on how spicy you want it)
salt & pepper
2 scallions sliced thin on the bias
2 Tbs chopped cilantro
lemon wedges for serving

Boil a large pot of salted water and cook 8oz of linguine according to package directions.

When the past is almost done, heat the oil over medium high heat until hot. Add the ginger and garlic and swirl around to coat with oil.

Add the scallops in a single layer and brown on one side. Add the garam masala and cayenne pepper and quickly stir-fry together (scallops should still be plump).

Transfer to a bowl and add the scallions and cilantro. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Serve immediately with lemon or lime wedges.

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com/ Peter

    Beautiful…it keeps with the simple pasta recipes are best mantra.

    • marc

      This is so true. One of my favourites is pasta tossed with black pepper, olive oil and cheese. Making something so simple really showcases the quality of the ingredients.

      • Christina

        One of my favorites is pasta, garlic, pepper, lemon and olive oil. Of course Asiago cheese absolutely makes the dish! We are trying the firecracker scallops tonight. I’m looking very forward to it, even though sushi has been on my mind all day.

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com Peter

    Beautiful…it keeps with the simple pasta recipes are best mantra.

    • marc

      This is so true. One of my favourites is pasta tossed with black pepper, olive oil and cheese. Making something so simple really showcases the quality of the ingredients.

      • Christina

        One of my favorites is pasta, garlic, pepper, lemon and olive oil. Of course Asiago cheese absolutely makes the dish! We are trying the firecracker scallops tonight. I’m looking very forward to it, even though sushi has been on my mind all day.

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com/ pigpigscorner

    I love simple yet delicious pasta! I’ve never used garam masala in my cooking before, maybe it’s time to add this to my spice cabinet!

    • marc

      It’s a spice blend that’s similar to curry powder. The British supposedly invented curry powder to mimic the taste of garam masala. It’s all a little silly though because there’s no set recipe for garam masala and everyone makes it their own way with their own blend of spices. Try a few until you find a blend you like.

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com/ pigpigscorner

    I love simple yet delicious pasta! I’ve never used garam masala in my cooking before, maybe it’s time to add this to my spice cabinet!

    • marc

      It’s a spice blend that’s similar to curry powder. The British supposedly invented curry powder to mimic the taste of garam masala. It’s all a little silly though because there’s no set recipe for garam masala and everyone makes it their own way with their own blend of spices. Try a few until you find a blend you like.

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    Love the spice in this…I personally would love this with some Australian prawns!

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    Love the spice in this…I personally would love this with some Australian prawns!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/ Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    What a great dish! The spice sounds wonderful and I love scallops!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    What a great dish! The spice sounds wonderful and I love scallops!

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    I love the Asian twist on these Italian noodles. It gives you a bit of surprise both in flavor and in texture. With a nice glass of Riesling, who could want for more?

    • marc

      Good call on the riesling! I had this with a glass of umeshu, but similar in concept:-)

  • http://www.foodgal.com Carolyn Jung

    I love the Asian twist on these Italian noodles. It gives you a bit of surprise both in flavor and in texture. With a nice glass of Riesling, who could want for more?

    • marc

      Good call on the riesling! I had this with a glass of umeshu, but similar in concept:-)

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com/ Lorraine E

    Love the name of this and what a bonus that it’s easy to make! :D

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com Lorraine E

    Love the name of this and what a bonus that it’s easy to make! :D

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    a simple dish that looks amazing! curry and pasta is genius. i can’t wait to try this. it’s something i wouldn’t have thought of on my own. thanks marc! x

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    a simple dish that looks amazing! curry and pasta is genius. i can’t wait to try this. it’s something i wouldn’t have thought of on my own. thanks marc! x

  • http://foodalogue.com/ Joan Nova

    I’ve also found that with a little ‘heat’ or ‘bold’ seasoning quick and light does not have to mean ‘light on flavor’ as this recipe proves! It takes it to a whole new level. Your Firecracker recipe looks and sounds great.

  • http://foodalogue.com Joan Nova

    I’ve also found that with a little ‘heat’ or ‘bold’ seasoning quick and light does not have to mean ‘light on flavor’ as this recipe proves! It takes it to a whole new level. Your Firecracker recipe looks and sounds great.

  • http://nyminute.tumblr.com/ Jenny

    Hi there –

    I cant wait to try this recipe. Just to clarify – is the ginger in this recipe fresh (grated?) or the spice?

    Thanks!

    • marc

      Fresh ginger, but I suppose you could substitute a smaller quantity of powdered ginger in a pinch.

  • http://nyminute.tumblr.com Jenny

    Hi there –

    I cant wait to try this recipe. Just to clarify – is the ginger in this recipe fresh (grated?) or the spice?

    Thanks!

    • marc

      Fresh ginger, but I suppose you could substitute a smaller quantity of powdered ginger in a pinch.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    NOOOOO! My garam masala is all the way back home :( Scallops are one of my favorite things ever, so naturally this just screams delicious to me :) I think soba would actually still be a great choice, if it’s cooked just till it’s bite-y :)

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    NOOOOO! My garam masala is all the way back home :( Scallops are one of my favorite things ever, so naturally this just screams delicious to me :) I think soba would actually still be a great choice, if it’s cooked just till it’s bite-y :)

  • http://www.mevrouwcupcake.com/ Mari

    What a fusion of great flavors and ingredients! This looks great!

  • http://www.mevrouwcupcake.com Mari

    What a fusion of great flavors and ingredients! This looks great!

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com/ Stacey Snacks

    Marc,
    Believe it or not, I have all of these ingredients in the house, maybe it will force me to make something different from Italiano!

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com Stacey Snacks

    Marc,
    Believe it or not, I have all of these ingredients in the house, maybe it will force me to make something different from Italiano!

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  • http://onceuponafeast.blogspot.com/ Ruth

    Looks absolutely fantastic…as do all your other dishes. Just stumbled on you through twitter and hope you plan on sharing one of your gorgeous, mouth-watering pastas with http://www.prestopastanights.com I know all those pasta lovers who join in the weekly roundups would love a taste!

  • http://onceuponafeast.blogspot.com Ruth

    Looks absolutely fantastic…as do all your other dishes. Just stumbled on you through twitter and hope you plan on sharing one of your gorgeous, mouth-watering pastas with http://www.prestopastanights.com I know all those pasta lovers who join in the weekly roundups would love a taste!

  • http://thefatcatchutneys.blogspot.com/ Cat

    I made this last night (scaled down for one person) and I have to highly recommend it! One of the best scallop dishes I’ve ever cooked! I’m normally not a fan of pasta but this was beautiful!!!

  • http://thefatcatchutneys.blogspot.com/ Cat

    I made this last night (scaled down for one person) and I have to highly recommend it! One of the best scallop dishes I’ve ever cooked! I’m normally not a fan of pasta but this was beautiful!!!

  • The Food Yenta

    This was fantastic, and I am a scallop cooking novice. the only change I made was I cut the olive oil to just a drizzle (watching fats) in order to saute everything. Consequently, I'd probably add about 1/4 cup vegetable broth so there's enough liquid next time.

    Also, I experimented with lime instead of lemon in the end, and it really brought out the sweetness of the scallops. Thank you for this recipe! I am no longer afraid to cook scallops.

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!