so, this may be the easiest recipe ever in the Prudent Foodie. It's a variation on a suggestion I read years ago that yogurt made a great seafood "marinade" which it does. You can add almost anything (curry powder, onions, thyme, tarragon, chili powder) and it will work. I happened to have some left over Harissa - a north african spice mix, and was trying to decide what to do with it. I decided that a North Africa meets Thai satay meets yogurt might work and this is the result. It tasted great, and was SO easy. I think scallops are pretty good value when they are only $10 or $11 a pound, since there is zero waste, and they are so rich that just a few will fill you up. But it is still quite a bit of money. So, it's good to know that you can substitute boneless skinless chicken for the scallops in this recipe, if you don't care for sea scallops, or think they are too expensive. I find Harissa at the local Mediterranean Market, but if middle eastern and north african markets are uncommon in your area you can obtain it from various mail order sources; Zingermans offers a very good product. This amount will serve two to four depending on your appetite and the dishes you serve with it. If I wanted to serve four and fill them up, I'd up this to 1.5 pounds, I think.
Grilled Sea Scallops (or Chicken) Marinated in Yogurt and Harissa
1 lb sea scallops (or boneless skinless chicken)
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 TB harissa paste
Stir the yogurt, harissa and sugar together, add the scallops and stir again. Put the mixture in zip top plastic bag, or a plastic tub with tight fitting lid and marinade for two to 24 hours.
Remove from the scallops from the marinade, but allow the yogurt to cling to them as you put them on bamboo or thin metal skewers. Broil or grill two-four minute a side if you are doing scallops, longer for chicken. The yogurt and harissa produce a sweet hotness that is great with scallops!
The harissa provides a north african flavor that is great with couscous, which is what I'd recommend serving with these. I tried adding about 1/4 tsp to the water when I made the couscous, which added just a bit a heat and smokiness - it was great.