This Cantonese dish is adapted from a recipe in Martin Yan’s Chinatown Cooking. He includes 1 tsp. of cracked Sichuan peppercorns which I have omitted since I do not like them. We have made this twice with asparagus, as he suggests, but I think it would be better with other, quicker cooking, vegetables, such as green beans or Chinese broccoli. We have found it takes a long time to stir-fry to the right level of softness the thin and relatively tough asparagus in the market. This cooks quickly and makes 4 servings with steamed rice.
XO sauce is an expensive specialty sauce from HK based on dried scallops, etc. It can be purchased on line. (I bought from Walmart.)
2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cornstarch, divided
1 lb. dry-pack sea scallops
1/3 cup fish stock, vegetable stock, etc. (I used garlic stock from Better than Bouillon)
1 Tbs. oyster sauce
1 tsp. XO sauce
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 lb. green beans, asparagus, or Chinese broccoli cut into small pieces
½ red bell pepper, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 Tbs. sliced almonds (optional)
In a small bowl, mix together the black pepper, salt, and 1 tsp. of cornstarch.
In a second small bowl, mix together the stock, oyster sauce, and XO sauce.
In a third small bowl, mix together 1 tsp. of cornstarch with 1 Tbs. of water.
Thoroughly dry the scallops with paper towels, and then sprinkle them on both sides with the pepper/salt/cornstarch mixture.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When quite hot, sear the scallops, about 2 minutes per side, in batches if necessary. Put the cooked scallops in a bowl.
Add the garlic and saute for a minute. Add the green beans (or other vegetable) and bell pepper and saute for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Add the small bowl of sauce and turn the heat down to medium and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, adding some extra water if the pan seems too dry. When the vegetables are done, return the scallops to the pan and add the cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until the sauce thickens. Serve over steamed rice with sliced almonds as an optional garnish.