Sea Scallops With Ginger Black Bean Sauce Recipe

As executive chef at Toronto's Nota Bene restaurant, David Lee has proved himself as one of Toronto's best. These mouth-watering hors d'oeuvres are topped with his own tangy black bean sauce. For last-minute entertaining, you can pick up a good quality black bean sauce from an Asian supermarket instead of making this one from scratch.

Ginger Black Bean Sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 small clove garlic
1 oz. freshly diced ginger
1/2 cup dried, fermented black beans (available in Asian supermarkets, no need to soak them in water for this recipe)
5 tbsp Chinese shao hsing wine
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp light soy sauce

12 fresh scallops (or high-quality individually-quick-frozen scallops, frozen while they’re picked)*
12 slices cucumber, peeled
Lemon juice
Grated fresh ginger or puréed ginger, for topping
*Can purchase live scallops one day in advance.


Ginger Black Bean Sauce

Step 1: Sauté onion, garlic, ginger and beans in vegetable oil.

Step 2: Once onions are softened, add the Chinese shao hsing wine to deglaze.

Step 3: Add the honey and soy sauce, and cook on low until the mixture becomes a paste, about 15 minutes.


Step 1: Blanch the scallops in boiling water for 25 seconds.

Step 2: Shock the scallops in ice water.

Step 3: Torch the scallops with a blow torch or in a very hot skillet for 2 seconds each side.

Step 4: Arrange slices of cucumber on a serving platter. Lay a bamboo spoon or serving fork on top of each slice of cucumber.

Step 5: Place a scallop on top of each spoon or fork. Squirt scallops with lemon juice, add a dallop of bean sauce and garnish with a small dallop of grated fresh ginger or puréed ginger.