Grilled scallops with a preserved lemon, roasted pepper & basil relish

  • 18 large fresh sea scallops, trimmed and rinsed
  • peanut oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 bamboo skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes


  • 2 large red bell peppers, roasted, skinned and peeled
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup preserved lemon (peel only), wiped free of juices and minced*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • extra fresh basil sprigs, for garnish

Prepare relish: Chop roasted peppers fine and mix together with the red onion and the olive oil in a small bowl. Stir in the minced preserved lemon and the fresh chopped basil and then add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Set relish aside.

Prepare the scallops: Place three scallops onto each of the six skewers. Brush the scallops with peanut oil, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper on both sides. Set the skewers onto a plate. Grill the scallops 2 or 3 minutes on each side over a hot grill, or until done. Place a skewer onto each of six serving plates and place a large spoonful over the hot scallops. Garnish with a fresh basil sprig and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

*Preserved lemons are a Middle Eastern condiment. They are simple to make though they do take a week to finish “pickling”. They are worth the effort, however, since they are so great in many recipes and they keep extremely well. My recipe is below, or you could try a specialty foods catalog or website to make a purchase.

Preserved Lemons

  • 12 fresh lemons, rinsed
  • ½ cup of salt
  • olive oil

Cut six of the lemons in half and juice them. Add the salt to the juice and mix well in a large bowl. Cut the remaining lemons into 6 wedges each. Stir the lemon wedges into the salt mixture, then place them in an airtight plastic container with the lid on. Allow the lemons to macerate for one week at room temperature, stirring them once a day. At the end of one week the lemons should be noticeably softened. Cover the lemons with a layer of olive oil—this acts as a barrier to bacteria and helps keep them fresh for a very long time. At this point they can be used in recipes and/or stored up to one year in the refrigerator. These lemons have a strong flavor, a little goes a long way!