Spaghetti with scallops in cilantro sauce

January 12, 2015  •  Category: , ,


Tripoli is Lebanon’s largest Northern city. I remember spending a weekend there  as a teenager with a  family  whose father was a business associate of my father’s. I thought the city was magical.  My friend Aboud took me on long walks  through the old city. I was mesmerized ! the Citadel of St. Gilles (built by the crusader who finally broke Tripoli’s siege in 1109), the old churches, the old mosques, the hammams (Turkish baths)  I felt this was truly the Levant! Whereas Beirut felt more like a mediterranean city, Tripoli was unmistakably  Arab.

This is a very easy and fast dish to prepare (the scallops cook in minutes), inspired by Tripoli’s famous fish dish, samke hamra or spiced fish. I used the same spices, but made an easy and speedy version with scallops instead of a large sea bass.


1 lb of frozen scallops

1 bunch of green onions, chopped fine

1 bunch of cilantro, washed and dried, stems discarded, leaves chopped fine

10 cloves of garlic mashed with a teaspoon of salt (or a heaping tablespoon of toom)

1/2 cup of walnuts

1/2 cup of pine nuts

1 teaspoon or more of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of more of ground coriander

1 teaspoon of chili flakes or Aleppo pepper

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb of spaghetti, any type


  1. Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet for 5 minutes. Drop the scallops (previously thawed, rinsed and dried), sprinkle with the coriander and cumin. Sear them a couple of minutes. Lift them up with a  spoon (without the oil) and set aside.
  2. Drop the green onions and pan fry for a couple minutes, then add the mashed garlic and chopped cilantro, all the while stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the red pepper flakes and black pepper, pine nuts and walnuts.
  3. Drop the scallops in that mixture, stirring until they turn completely opaque and are cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the pasta by boiling 2 quarts of salted water and dropping the pasta in for 11 minutes. Drain it and add it to the scallops. Mix well, add some fresh cilantro for garnish. Sahteyn!


4 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A tasty pasta dish! Scallops taste so good.



  2. Oui, Chef says:

    I adore scallops and know I would love them in this pasta dish.

  3. Susan says:

    This would be my favorite way to enjoy scallops! So delicious and satisfying. Love all of the garlic and cilantro.

  4. Tom says:

    Great winter recipe. It was delicous!
    The combination of the nuts with garlic and cilantro is best.

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