Chorizo packs a punch of garlicky richness and sweet heat.
The paprika in this spicy, smoky pork sausage adds a touch of acidity. Thanks to breadcrumbs worked into the crust, this crunchy addition crisps up in just a few minutes under the broiler and is a great addition to seafood, chicken and even hearty veggies. In this meal, the smokiness of the chorizo crust enhances the sweetness of the scallops and corn and completes the dish.
- Spice things up with fresh seasonings. If your spice jars are looking dusty, their contents probably taste a bit musty. For restaurant-quality flavors, Michael Mina recommends replacing your spices every 3 to 4 months. So pass on the bulk-sized paprika that’ll take years to use up and buy seasonings in smaller quantities. Shop at local groceries with high turnover, or buy online from vendors like Penzeys or Kalustyans, where you can purchase an ounce at a time. It’s a worthwhile investment – you’ll taste brighter flavors in this chorizo crust and in every other dish you cook.
- Be mindful of your butter’s temperature. Straight out of the fridge butter will be difficult to work into the bread crumbs, but melted butter will be absorbed by the breadcrumbs and soften their crispy texture. For best results, leave the butter on the counter for 15 minutes before you use it. It should be cool to the touch but pliable.
- Plan ahead. If you’re prepping for a future meal or find that you have leftover chorizo mixture after you coat the scallops, form balls of the mixture, lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze them. Once they are frozen, put them in a tightly sealed container or freezer bag and store for future use. The chorizo mixture will keep this way for months. When you’re ready to use it, just let the wrapped chorizo defrost overnight in the fridge.
These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.
- Tortilla press. Known in Mexico as a “tortilladora,” a tortilla press looks like a waffle iron without a patterned surface. Traditionally, a ball of masa – dough made of ground cornmeal – is pressed between its plates to form a round, flat tortilla. It also works like a charm to press balls of the chorizo mix into individual rounds to crust the scallops.
The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.
Medium sauté pan
Mesh strainer over medium glass bowl
1-inch ice cream scoop
Large glass bowl with ice
- 1 ¼ cup butter, softened slightly
- 1 cup yellow onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 turns (or a ¼ teaspoon) of fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pound dried Spanish chorizo, cut into ¼ inch dice
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ½ cups plain Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Active time: 30 minutes
- Preheat oven to 200°F.
- Set a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter to pan. When butter is foamy add the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until onion and garlic are translucent and very soft, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. They should soften but not brown.
- Add tomato paste to the pan and increase to medium-high heat. Stir until the paste coats the onions and begins to brown slightly, about 3 minutes. When the paste no longer smells like raw tomato, transfer the mixture to a plate to cool completely. This will take about 30 minutes if you spread the mixture out and place it in the fridge. Save the sauté pan.
- Place the diced chorizo into the reserved sauté pan and pour olive oil over the top. Place the pan in the oven. Cook the chorizo until it has rendered – you will see the red chorizo fat coming out of the pieces and mixing with the olive oil – about 15 minutes in a 200°F oven. The chorizo will be golden brown and slightly crispy when it’s done. Pour chorizo mixture into strainer over medium-sized bowl. Place bowl with strainer over larger bowl with ice to expedite cooling process. Reserve the pan for the scallops and the chorizo bits for the mustard greens.
- Add Panko, cayenne, ancho chili powder, salt and smoked paprika in a bowl. Pour mixture into a food processor and add remaining softened butter and cooled onion mixture. Pulse ingredients, slowly streaming 3 tablespoons of cooled chorizo fat into processor. Pulse until the mixture comes together. Make sure to scrape down the bowl to ensure the mixture is evenly mixed. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or until the mixture feels as solid as cold butter.
- Cut 32 (4-inch) pieces of waxed paper. Form the crust mixture into 1 ½ tablespoon balls, making sure to pack the mixture tightly. Place a square piece of parchment in a tortilla press then place one ball of crust on the paper and place another piece on top.
- Press the ball using the tortilla press. Repeat, making one round for each scallop. Chill the rounds for at least 30 minutes. Extra crust can be frozen for future use. It is important to keep the rounds well chilled until the moment right before you place them on the scallops. If you do not have a tortilla press, use a rolling pin to flatten the crust between two layers of parchment paper.