Scallops with Stewed Chickpeas and Tomatoes

Sweet and meaty shellfish need little embellishment in this cozy Chilean dish.

  • Serves

    serves 4-6

  • Cook

    50 minutes


By Juan Pablo Mellada Arana

Updated on September 27, 2021

Tender, sweet scallops are paired with a tomato-rich chickpea stew, here spiced with merkén, a traditional Chilean red chile spice mix made from dried ajè cacho de cabra, or goat's horn chiles. This simple stew, from chef Juan Pablo Mellado Arana of Las Cabras, a soda fountain and restaurant in Providencia, Santiago, Chile, is ideal served with a hunk of crusty bread for dunking.

Featured in: "All Eyes on Santiago."


  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. merkén or hot paprika
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 12 cup white wine
  • One 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained
  • One 15-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 bay scallops
  • 12 cup loosely packed arugula
  • Crusty bread, for serving


Step 1

In a medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 12 minutes. Add the merkén, tomato paste, and garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until almost completely evaporated, about 12 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas, tomatoes, and 1⁄2 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chickpeas to a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 2

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over high until it just begins to smoke. Season the scallops lightly with salt and pepper, then add them to the skillet and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer the scallops to a plate and serve alongside the chickpeas. Garnish with the arugula and serve with crusty bread, if you like.

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