Thyme Seared Scallops on Coconut Creamed Corn with Red Bell Peppers

Pan seared scallops with coconut creamed corn

Coconut oil can substitute for butter in some recipes Pan seared scallops with coconut creamed corn

There are two schools when it comes to coconut oil: the lovers and the haters. As I continue to sift through information, I fall somewhere in the middle. The pros of coconut oil are that it’s natural, has a rich coconut aroma and luxurious texture. It’s plant-based, rather than animal-based like butter. While it touts medium-chain triglycerides, reputable sources warn that this attribute doesn’t necessarily result in fat loss. Conventional wisdom is that 1 tablespoon delivers 13 grams of saturated fat, which is over half of the daily limit for most people. Meanwhile, butter contains 7 grams of saturated fat, 100 calories, and 30 milligrams of cholesterol—10% of the daily limit.

Recently Daphne Oz explained to me on Twitter that she loves using it as a makeup remover (I’d like to try that), and others gush that they love using it as a moisturizer.

For me personally, I wonder if butter is a cause of my irritated skin, so I am currently relying on plant-based cooking fats, which is why I chose coconut oil for this recipe. Olive and canola oils are still my first choices for cooking, but in the case of creamed corn, you want the buttery taste that coconut oil delivers. And ounce for ounce, light coconut milk has significantly fewer calories and saturated fat grams than the heavy cream typically used in this dish.

So, to use or not to use coconut oil? If you’re trying to eat a more plant-based diet or desire the coconut flavor, it is a good substitute for butter. Extra-virgin olive oil and expeller-pressed canola oil remain my top choices for nutritious oils to use in recipes. What’s your experience with coconut oil?

Thyme Seared Scallops with Coconut Creamed Corn with Red Bell Peppers

Thyme Seared Scallops on Coconut Creamed Corn with Red Bell Peppers

For the corn:

2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil

1 cup diced red bell pepper

3 scallions, white and green parts divided, thinly sliced

4 ears corn, husks removed

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1 teaspoon raw sugar (or a bit more or less, to taste)

For the scallops:

1 pound diver scallops, rinsed and blotted dry (about 8-12 medium)

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt, to taste (optional)

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil

A few thyme sprigs

To make the corn: Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat and add oil. Add bell pepper and cook gently until tender, about 6 minutes, adding the white parts of scallions halfway through cooking. While the peppers cook, place a corn husk over a bowl and cut off the tops of the corn kernels, not cutting all the way to the cob. Using a soup spoon scrape the remaining pulp and juice from the cobs into the bowl. When the peppers are tender, add the corn and juice and cook until the liquid reduces some, 2-3 minutes. Add coconut milk, 1/4 cup water and sugar and simmer until corn is tender,  about 30 minutes. Stir in green parts of scallions at the end of cooking.

To make the scallops: Season the scallops with pepper and salt. Heat a large sauté pan on medium-high heat and add oil, tilting the pan to ensure even coverage. Add scallops and brown on one side, 4-5 minutes, tilting the pan occasionally to evenly distribute oil. Turn the scallops onto areas of the pan coated with oil and add thyme, browning 4 minutes. Cook scallops until they reach desired doneness, medium rare recommended since they get tough if cooked too long.

Spoon the corn into wide shallow dishes and top with scallops.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 36 minutes

Makes 4 servings, 2-3 scallops each (with 1/2 cup corn)

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 292 calories, 10 g total fat (5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 848 mg sodium, 46 mg cholesterol, 27 g total carbohydrate (4 g fiber), 27 g protein, 8% DV iron, 2% DV calcium, 33% DV Vitamin A, 22% DV Vitamin C.

 

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Halibut en Papillote with Cherry Tomatoes, Cappers & Garlic

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Thyme Seared Scallops with Coconut Creamed Corn with Red Bell Peppers

Pan seared scallops with coconut creamed corn

By Michelle Dudash, Chef and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Published: May 13, 2013

  • Yield: 2-3 scallops each (with 1/2 cup corn) (4 Servings)
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 36 mins
  • Ready In: 56 mins

Beautiful scallops seasoned with thyme and some coconut creamed corn with chopped red bell peppers.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. To make the corn: Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat and add oil. Add bell pepper and cook gently until tender, about 6 minutes, adding the white parts of scallions halfway through cooking. While the peppers cook, place a corn husk over a bowl and cut off the corn kernels, not cutting all the way to the root of the corn, since any leftover pulp you will get later. Using a soup soon scrape the remaining pulp and juice from the cobs into the bowl. When the peppers are tender, add the corn and juice and cook until the liquid cooks down, 2-3 minutes. Add coconut milk, 1/4 cup water and sugar and simmer until corn is tender, 30 minutes. Stir in green parts of scallions at the end of cooking.
  2. To make the scallops: Season the scallops with pepper and salt. Heat a large sauté pan on medium-high heat and add oil, tilting the pan to ensure even coverage. Add scallops and brown on one side, 4-5 minutes, tilting the pan occasionally to evenly distribute oil. Turn the scallops onto an area of the pan coated with oil and add thyme, browning 4 minutes. Cook scallops until they reach desired doneness, with medium rare being recommended.
  3. Spoon the corn into wide shallow dishes and top with scallops.

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