Buffalo scallop tortilla bites

styling by Catrine Kelty | photo by Keller + Keller


A classic flavor combination is reinvented in this bite-sized appetizer. Seared scallops are served with carrots and celery to round out this updated version of a popular party dish. We prefer Frank’s Red Hot, but feel free to choose your own favorite brand. 

Blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese, plus extra for garnish

1 pound sea scallops  
1/2 cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons canola oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Tortilla chips, for serving
1 cup shredded carrots, for garnish
1 cup thinly sliced celery, for garnish

  1. Make dressing. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise and white wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Stir in blue cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. 
  2. Prepare scallops. Remove any rough, crescent-shaped muscle from outside of scallops and discard. Pat scallops completely dry. Cut each scallop in half horizontally. Season one side of each with salt and pepper.
  3. In a bowl, whisk hot sauce, white wine, lemon juice, and tomato paste until combined. Set aside. 
  4. In a large nonstick pan, heat oil until it begins to shimmer or smoke a little. Place scallops in pan, seasoned side down, in a single layer. Cook 2-3 minutes without stirring or moving them, until bottoms begin to brown and caramelize (cook scallops in batches if necessary as to not overcrowd pan). Turn scallops over and cook another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low. To scallop pan, add hot sauce mixture and cook until warmed through and thickened, scraping browned bits from bottom, 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in butter. Cook until butter is completely melted. Finished sauce should be thick enough to coat back of a spoon.
  6. Remove pan from heat. Add scallops to sauce, tossing gently to coat on all sides. 
  7. When ready to serve, top 1 tortilla chip with 1 scallop half, followed by a small dollop of dressing and a crumble of blue cheese. Top with a bit of carrot and a few celery slices. Top with a bit more crumbled blue cheese (if desired) and season with pepper. Repeat with remaining tortilla chips until of all scallops are used.

Makes approximately 20-24.

cook’s note: The easiest way to thinly slice the celery is by using a mandoline.