Makes: 6 servings, about 4 scallops & 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce each
Serving size: N/A
Here, Chinese fermented black beans are stir-fried with garlic and ginger, flavor-enhanced with Chinese or Japanese rice wine, and blended into a delicate puree that makes a delicious dip to complement all sorts of grilled seafood, including plump sea scallops. Sweet mirin counterbalances the saltiness of the beans.
If using fermented black beans, place them in a small bowl, cover with water and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until light golden and fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the black beans (or black bean-garlic sauce) and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Carefully pour in rice wine (or sake), mirin and sesame oil; lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, lightly crushing the black beans, until the liquid is reduced by about half, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Preheat grill to high.
Put cilantro, lemon juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a blender; process until smooth. Transfer the marinade to a large bowl, add scallops and gently toss to coat with the marinade. Divide the scallops among 6 skewers, spacing about 1/2 inch apart. Season with pepper. (Discard marinade.) Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the scallops until golden and crisp on the edges and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Serve with the black bean sauce and garnish with cilantro sprigs.