These Seared Sea Scallops Are a Perfect Match for Coastal Scotch

Scotland’s coastal regions are home to some of the country’s finest single malt whiskies: from Old Pulteney, crafted in the far north of Scotland and influenced by the North Sea, to the Orkney Islands-based Highland Park, to the eight operational distilleries on the isle of Islay. The influence of the coast and the bodies of water beyond is inescapable, leading to whiskies that show a range of salty and briny flavors. And—because salt enhances and amplifies flavors—these whiskies are especially suited to pairing with food.

“Coastal scotches like Old Pulteney pair well with this scallop dish because of the faintly salty and spicy notes that can be found in these types of whiskies,” explains chef Philip Sireci of New York’s Fine & Rare. He says that this particular dish, made with white miso and ginger, as well as tobiko fish roe, “pairs well with the citrus and brine that coastal whiskies inherently have.”

Pour This, Pair That: Coastal Whisky and Miso and Ginger-Glazed Sea Scallops

Pour: Coastal scotch
Tastes Like: Due to their proximity to large, salty bodies of water, coastal single malt scotches often take on briny flavors. Citrus and spice characteristics are also common.
Five to try: Ardbeg Corryvrecken (95 points), Laphroaig 10 year old Cask Strength Batch 010 (93 points), Highland Park The Dark 17 year old (92 points), Lagavulin 12 year old (90 points), Old Pulteney 18 year (90 points)

Pair: Miso and Ginger-Glazed Seared Sea Scallops
Why it works: The salt and citrus notes in the dish find similar flavors as a counterpart in the whisky, making for a seamless combination.

Miso and Ginger-Glazed Seared Sea Scallops

Recipe is for a single appetizer serving and can be doubled as needed.
Note: Tobiko is a type of flying fish roe and can be bought on Amazon or at Japanese specialty stores.


  • ½ cup white miso
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce to taste (optional)
  • Water
  • 3 U10/20 day boat scallops (about 5-6 oz.)
  • Fine sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 3 teaspoons tobiko
  • Shiso leaves or pea tendrils


1. Combine first five ingredients in blender, adding water as necessary to get the ingredients moving easily, and process until well-mixed. Add butter and pulse, adding water to achieve a glaze-like consistency, and add hot sauce if desired. Set aside.

2. Dry the scallops with a paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Place sauté pan on stove over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil.
When oil is hot, add scallops and brown on both sides.

4. Remove scallops from pan and drain on paper towel. While still warm, arrange on a
plate over shiso leaves or pea tendrils. Drizzle glaze over scallops and garnish each with 1 teaspoon of tobiko.

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