Guyanese-inspired Fine Dining Scallops, at home

by Samantha Bacchus McLeod


I had 3 hours to impress so what is the best way to do that? Do what I know and love best, make something like Guyanese food.

I love food, all cuisines. I love eating out, whether it is at a popular hole in the wall, or in a family establishment, on the streets or in upscale restaurants, or in the homes of friends. But what I love above all is creating, or recreating, dishes in my own kitchen. Nothing makes me happier than when I hear a “foodie” will be coming to my table, because that is when my brain goes into overdrive and I can whip up all kinds of new awesomeness.

Case in point, a few days ago on a Tuesday no less, I was told we will be having guests for an early dinner. I had 3 hours to impress so what is the best way to do that?

Do what you know and love best. Hence my immediate reach for something Guyanese-inspired. The little tastes from my childhood days, memories of ripe mangoes falling off laden trees and the mad dash for the bird-pecked ones, because they were always the sweetest of all. The sight of a mama vigorously grating coconuts on her seated grater, the milky richness of coconut flesh, fresh thyme growing in every nook and cranny, and popping up in rice dishes like our brilliant one-pot dish called Cookup. Check out my Guyanese-inspired Chowmein.

The menu below is what was created. This post is for the scallops’ dish.

The menu with pairings:

Spanish Potato chips/Lemony Gin Cocktail
Scallops á la Guyana/Poplar Grove Pinot Gris
Peppered Pork tenderloin/Hong Kong Bordeaux Blend 2011
Smashed Apple cake/Illy Coffee and Taylor Fladgate Tawny 10yr

Fine Dining Scallops

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time: Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


12 large scallops (keep in the fridge until ready to cook)

100 grams finely chopped pancetta

1 tablespoon olive oil


1 cup butter gently melted to make a “butter sauce”

1 large ripe mango, peel and purée (keep in the fridge until ready to plate)

1 cup coconut milk, whip and whipped again, set aside until ready to plate

½ cup shelled garden fresh sweet peas

4 sprigs thyme

lots of fresh ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin, roasted

1 handful arugula leaves


Add the olive oil and pancetta to a pan and cook gently until the fat is separated and the pancetta is crisply done.

Remove from the heat and strain off the fat into a container.

Use paper towels to soak up the oils from the pancetta bits and set aside for plating.

Pour the pancetta flavoured oil (should only be about 1/8 of a cup by now), into a large fry pan – make sure the brown sediments are left behind because you need a clean sear.

Put the pan on the stove, medium heat.

Use paper towels to pat dry each scallop, when the fat is ready (hot but not smoking), place the 12 scallops into the pan.

Sear for 30 seconds, flip and sear the other side for another 30 seconds.

Remove the pan immediately from the heat.

Time to plate:

Sprinkle the pepper onto a plate.

Put 3 or 4 leaves of arugula on the plate and place 3 scallops on them.

Pour 1 teaspoon butter sauce on another spot of the plate, lay a sprig of thyme on the sauce.

Place 1 tablespoon mango purée on the plate and sprinkle with a pinch of the cumin.

Scatter some peas and pancetta bits on the plate, in any design you like.

Finally, carefully drape a spoonful of coconut milk froth on one side of the scallops and let it drape down onto the plate.


Scallops, large scallop should only take 30 seconds per side to cook. This shellfish can overcook quite quickly.

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