Smoky Spanish Paprika-Dusted Sea Scallops Seared in Duck Fat, with Silky Saffron-Ginger Aioli, on Salty, Sweet Potato Chips

Recipe created by 2017 Glorious Bites Finalist: Ellen Verdugo of Massachusetts

Congratulations to Ellen, one of our Glorious Bites 2017 Finalists.


  • 2 whole of sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp of sea salt
  • 1 qt of avocado oil (or your choice) for frying
  • 1/8 tsp of saffron threads
  • 1 tbsp of hot water
  • 1 tbsp of grated fresh ginger, peeled before grating
  • 3/4 cup of roasted-garlic mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp of dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lbs of dry sea scallops (may need additional 1/4 lb for 12 scallops)
  • 1 tbsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tbsp of duckfat, divided
  • 1/4 cup of micro greens



For the chips:

  1. Slice sweet potatoes with chef’s knife or mandoline. You will need 12 slices, 1/8 inch thick. Submerge slices in a bowl of cold water, and leave for 5 minutes to release their starch. Drain, rinse and pat dry with a kitchen towel or paper towels.
  2. Heat avocado oil in a deep pan or deep fryer to 365 degrees. Fry potato slices, a few at a time, so as to keep the oil hot, 3 to 5 minutes per batch. As they brown, remove slices and drain on paper towels, then set chips on a rack. Season with salt. Repeat with the rest of the slices.

For the aioli:

  1. Crumble saffron threads into 1 tablespoon hot water.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine ginger, mayonnaise, mustard, saffron, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and process to combine well. Set aside.


For the scallops:

  1. Place scallops on prep board and dry well with a clean dish towel or paper towels. Scallops will not brown correctly if they are wet. Combine 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and dust scallops, on both sides, gingerly from above.
  2. Heat a heavy 10-inch skillet over high heat. When almost smoking, add 1 1/2 tablespoons duck fat. Then add half the scallops in a single layer. Cook 1 1/2 to 2 minutes without disturbing.
  3. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons more duck fat to the skillet. Use tongs to turn scallops and continue to cook an additional 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove scallops with tongs to plate as they turn golden, and tent with foil to keep warm.
  4. When first batch is done, wipe skillet with paper towels and repeat process as before with remaining scallops and duck fat.

To assemble:

  1. Place 3 sweet potato chips on each of 4 plates.
  2. Top each chip with a scallop, then a dollop of aioli.
  3. Garnish with micro greens.
  4. Serves 4 appetizer portions. Recipe may be doubled for 24 passed appetizers.


Makes 4 servings

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