Tag Archives: scallops

Menu: Lightly Blackened Scallops with Crispy Prosciutto and an Orange, Rosemary, & White Wine Reduction, Cauliflower Mash with Boursin, & Julienned Snow Peas with Toasted Pine Nuts and Orange Supremes

Photo by Kathyhuntphoto.com

The other night I set out looking for clams to make a fresh clam, broccoli rabe, and sausage dish I had in mind. Alas, I came home with scallops. As funny as that sounds I was a little disappointed that the clams at the two purveyors I visited appeared to have been languishing in their little net bags just a little too long. With all seafood and especially shellfish I am extremely picky about freshness…I had to take a pass on the clams. But being the Friday before Christmas I did want to make a special dinner so Costco and their frozen sea scallops saved the day again. As I’ve mentioned before, I really like these “dry-packed” flash frozen scallops and I still always verify “Ingredients: Sea Scallops”. No salt and definitely no sodium tripolyphosphate!

To prepare these scallops for cooking simply give them a quick rinse, carefully remove the little hard tab of adductor muscle off of the side of each scallop, then dab them with a paper towel to dry. I usually place them on another paper towel set on a plate and refrigerate the scallops while I’m getting everything else ready. Keeping the scallops dry helps to promote browning once the scallops to hit the pan.

In this recipe I use the rosemary and the prosciutto to infuse the olive oil with flavor before cooking the scallops. I found that blackening seasoning alone was a little too much for the delicate scallops but with the flour added the seasonings were perfect and the flour helped form a nice crust. To ensure that even caramelization on the crust try not to move the scallops too much once they are in the pan…set them in, swirling the pan a little to distribute the oil, then leave them alone until you turn them. Timing is important so I suggest preparing the cauliflower first, blanching the snow peas while the cauliflower is steaming. Then while the scallops are cooking it only takes a minute or two to finish the snow peas and process the cauliflower.

Keep your eye out for that clam, broccoli rabe, and sausage recipe…as soon as I can find some decent clams!

Lightly Blackened Scallops with Crispy Prosciutto and an Orange, White Wine, and Rosemary Reduction Sauce

3 – Large dry packed sea scallops per person (Adductor muscles removed)
Juice of 1 Orange, zest reserved
1/8 cup – Dry white wine
3 large or 4 medium sprigs fresh rosemary
1 – Level teaspoon blackening seasonings
1 – Heaping teaspoon whole wheat flour
½ Stick – cold unsalted butter, quartered and cut into 16 cubes
2 Tbsp – Prosciutto, sliced thin then sliced across into 1/8 to ¼ inch strips
Extra virgin olive oil

In a 10 inch non-stick skillet heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add ¾ of the fresh rosemary and swirl the pan to cook, pressing the rosemary into the olive oil with a wooden fork from time to time. Cook until the smell of rosemary is permeating the kitchen. (Your family may come in to see what smells so doggone good!)  After 5 minutes or so the rosemary will begin to look brown and crisp. Use the fork to carefully remove the rosemary allowing any excess oil to drain back into the pan. Set the rosemary aside.

Over the same medium heat, add the prosciutto to the pan and stir briskly while shaking the pan to separate the pieces. Cook stirring constantly until the prosciutto begins to brown. When the prosciutto has changed color and appears mostly browned, empty the pan into a strainer, reserving the oil. Once the oil has mostly drained, set the prosciutto on a paper towel to dry (much like bacon). Return the captured oil to the pan and set back on the heat.

Combine the blackening seasonings and the flour and stir to mix. Press both flat sides of each scallop into the flour mixture then place the scallops directly into the pan swirling occasionally to distribute the oil.  Cook the scallops about two minutes, turn and cook two minutes to two and a half minutes more to caramelize before removing to the serving plates. Note: Scallops should be cooked “almost” all the way through when you move them to the plates. The residual heat will finish cooking them while you make the sauce.

Return the pan to the heat and increase the heat to medium high adding the orange juice, the remaining rosemary, and the wine to the pan to deglaze. Allow the liquids to boil swirling the pan occasionally until the sauce comes to a syrupy consistency. When the liquids have mostly reduced and have become syrupy, remove the rosemary. Add the butter 4 cubes at a time swirling the pan (or gently whisking) off the heat to incorporate the melted butter. Return the pan to the heat occasionally to keep the butter melting and repeat until the sauce has thickened and the all of the butter is incorporated.

To serve, drizzle a small amount of the sauce over each scallop then top each with some of the crispy prosciutto and garnish with orange zest.

Cauliflower Mash with Boursin

1 – Small head of Cauliflower
¼ cup – Chicken broth
2 Tbsp – Garlic & herb Boursin cheese
1 Tbsp – Unsalted butter
1 dash – Fresh ground nutmeg
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Add a steamer basket to a medium sized stew pot along with 1-1/2 cups of water. Place the cauliflower in the steamer basket and bring the pot to a boil over medium high heat. When the water is boiling place a lid on the pot and steam until the cauliflower is quite tender, about 10 minutes.

Move the pot from the heat and very carefully transfer the cauliflower to a food processor with a standard blade. Use a wooden spoon to break up the cauliflower then add the broth, boursin, butter, and nutmeg. Process until smooth, check for seasonings and add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Julienned Snow Peas with Toasted Pine Nuts and Orange Supremes

½ Lb – Snow Peas, julienned (sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 pieces)
1 heaping Tbsp. – Pine nuts
1 – Small navel orange, cut into supremes ( How to   )
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 cups – Water

Add water, salt, and the snow peas to a sauce pan over medium high heat. When the water comes to a full boil remove the pan from the heat and strain.

While the peas are draining dry the pan then place it over medium heat for one minute. Add the pine nuts to the dry pan and cook stirring constantly until the nuts begin to brown in spots.

Over the same heat, add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil to the pine nuts and stir in the oranges. As soon as the pan begins to simmer, stir in the snow peas and cook until heated through. Stir in kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.



Scallops Two Ways: Pan-Seared with Grand Marnier Reduction Sauce and Pan-Fried Crusted with Panko and Orange

We decided to stay in last night and being that it was Saturday night I was in the mood for something a little special. After futzing around the house all day, the afternoon kind of snuck by and before I knew it, once again, it was too late to cook any long-cooking recipes. Seafood is a favorite when I don’t have a lot of time and scallops seemed like just the ticket for a nice dinner for two.

It is nearly impossible here in South Florida to find fresh sea scallops. Even when you find them at the fishmongers, scallops are often previously frozen or, even worse, wet-packed! I know I have written about this before but it bears mentioning again. Wet packed and even some frozen scallops (and shrimp) are soaked in a chemical solution called Sodium triphosphate or STP that ruins the flavor and texture. Take my word for it…you do not want to feed STP to your loved-ones! I always recommend IQF or “Individually Quick Frozen” scallops.

Thankfully, any time seafood is treated with STP it must be stated on the packaging and/or included in the ingredients. I visited our local BJ’s and picked up a nice two pound bag of IQF Sea Scallops. I’ve bought these here before but I always check the label and was pleased to find “Ingredients: Scallops” on this one. The two pound package should last Kat and I two, possibly three meals. So while scallops are a special treat for us, I don’t really consider them a splurge.

One of my favorite things to do when cooking shrimp or scallops is to prepare them 2, sometimes even 3 different ways, usually with a common thread tying the flavors together. I do this because, for me anyway, it makes the dinner seem especially nice…like something you might have at a restaurant. My common thread ingredient for this dinner was oranges. I have been on something of an orange kick lately and it’s a flavor that I think really compliments scallops. I am including both recipes here, either one would be a fine entrée (or appetizer) on its own.

I served these with leeks braised in white wine with orange rind and simple Old Bay seasoned and roasted Yukon potato medallions.

Pan-Seared Scallops with Grand Marnier Reduction Sauce

Recipe notes: This sauce is super concentrated and intensely flavorful. I would have preferred a little less sauce on the scallops pictured above. Plan on 3 scallops per person for an appetizer or a “Two Ways” entrée; use 6 per person if this will be your entrée.

3 to 6 – Medium scallops per person
¼ Cup – Grand Marnier
½ Cup – Fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. – Butter, cubed into 8 pieces and kept very cold
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
Fresh Orange zest to garnish
Olive Oil

Prepare scallops by removing the tough adductor muscle from the side of the larger adductor muscle ( “see here” ) then pat them very dry using a paper towel. Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt & ground pepper.

Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. When oil is shimmering and just beginning to smoke carefully, one at a time, set the scallops into the pan. Sear the scallops without touching them until some browning becomes apparent around the edges, about two minutes. Turn them gently over and sear two minutes more or until scallops are cooked nearly through. (If you cut into one the center should still be a little translucent). Remove the scallops to a plate and cover to keep warm.

To the same pan add the orange juice and boil until the juice becomes syrupy and reduces to about three tablespoons. Remove the pan from heat, add the Grand Marnier and place back on heat. Cook, stirring or swirling occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to about 4 tablespoons. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter cubes 2 or 3 at a time. Continue stirring, adding more cubes as the butter melts and becomes incorporated until all butter has been added. The sauce should now be the right consistency for serving.

To serve place the scallops on your serving plates and drizzle a tiny bit of the sauce over each. Garnish each scallop with a pinch of orange zest and serve.

Pan-Fried Scallops Crusted with Panko and Orange Zest

Recipe Notes: The orange zest in the crust caramelizes quickly and turns a deep brown. Don’t worry! As long as you do not over-brown the crust it does not burn. Actually, I really liked the deep orangey flavor the caramelized zest gives the crust. The Grand Marnier sauce from the above recipe was good on these…just don’t use too much! Plan on 3 scallops per person for an appetizer or a “Two Ways” entrée; use 6 per person if this will be your entrée.

3 to 6 – Medium scallops per person
1-1/2 Cups – Panko crumbs
½ Cup – Whole Wheat or Unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Egg – Lightly beaten with 2 Tbsp. of water
Zest of one large orange (about 2 Tbsp.)
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
Canola and Olive Oil

Prepare scallops by removing the tough adductor muscle from the side of the larger adductor muscle ( “see here” ) then pat them very dry using a paper towel. Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt & ground pepper.

In a small bowl combine the panko crumbs and orange zest, tossing to mix. Mix egg wash in another small bowl and place the flour in another. Dust the scallops first in the flour, then dredge in the egg wash, then toss them in the crumb mixture. Set crusted scallops on a plate and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Warm about 1/4 inch deep of 2 parts canola oil to one part olive oil in a med pan over medium heat. Allow oil to heat thoroughly before cooking the scallops. (Oil should measure 350 to 375 with a probe thermometer. When ready, a bread cube dropped into the pan should “boil” immediately and begin browning in about 1 minute.)

When your oil is hot, carefully place scallops, one by one, into the pan. Cook about two minutes, or until browning can be seen around the edges, turn and cook two minutes more. When golden brown (orange zest will be darker) remove the scallops from the pan to a paper towel or food rack to rest for about a minute.

Serve immediately with a little of the Grand Marnier reduction on the side.



Menu for Two – Pan Seared Sea Scallops with a Fresh Herb White Wine Sauce, Oven Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus Spears.

Last week my wife Kathy had a rough week fighting the cold that I probably gave her when I had it the week before. Since she was feeling somewhat better by Friday I wanted to cook her something special so I went browsing at Costco for something out of the ordinary. With a crispy salad and some crusty bread, these scallops fit the bill perfectly!

I shop at Costco or BJ’s often as bulk stores are a great way to stretch your grocery bucks. For instance, while you might find nice fat Sea Scallops (nearly always pre-frozen) at a local seafood market or grocery for 12.99 to 15.99 per pound, these came in just over 9.00 per pound for a two pound bag. Two pounds are enough for 3 dinners for the two of us and that boils down to about $6.00 per meal or $3.00 per person. Just try to find that kind of deal at a seafood restaurant!

Speaking of buying frozen seafood; for a very long time I absolutely refused to buy frozen scallops or shrimp. While I wouldn’t consider myself a food snob…I simply did not care for the way the frozen ones tasted when compared to fresh. Then I came across an article about sodium tripolyphosphate . Sodium tripolyphosphate is a preservative that packagers will “claim” is used to “retain tenderness and moisture”. In fact it absolutely ruins the flavor and texture of certain foods, especially shrimp and scallops, giving the flesh a diluted, soapy flavor and an unpleasant spongy, almost waterlogged texture.

So why do seafood packagers use this additive, which is also used in household cleaners, laundry detergent, and paint? The simple answer is Sodium tripolyphosphate “can substantially increase the sale weight of seafood in particular”. Need I say more?

Fortunately, in the U.S., Sodium tripolyphosphate must be listed in the ingredients list on the package label. Also fortunately, Costco and BJ’s both carry frozen shrimp and scallops that do not contain Sodium tripolyphosphate! Do yourself a favor and read the ingredients next time you buy frozen seafood. For the same reason I also try to avoid the “fresh” scallops that are sold soaking in “their own” liquid.

Menu for two – Pan seared sea scallops with a fresh herb white wine sauce, oven roasted baby creamer potatoes and asparagus spears.

Note: Before I get started on the recipe there is one other tip that I must mention: WATER KILLS BROWNING! In searing and roasting the browning that occurs on the outside surface is where the flavor comes from. Searing your scallops while they are wet will prevent them from browning. To get the most flavor from your browned foods always be sure to pat them dry with a paper or dish towel before cooking.

For the Scallops you will need:

12 medium – Sea Scallops, thawed, rinsed, and dried well.
¼ Cup – Dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
Juice of ½ – Fresh lemon
3 Tbsp – Butter, Cut into 6 or 8 cubes, and kept cold.
2 Tbsp – Shallots, minced
2 Tbsp – Fresh basil, sliced in thin ribbons ( see http://www.basilbasics.com/chiffonade.html )
1 Sprig – Fresh rosemary
Italian Herb Seasoning Grinder
Olive Oil

For the Potatoes and Asparagus you will need:

12 – Baby Potatoes, I used half red bliss and half Yukon gold potatoes
12 Large or 16 Medium – Fresh green asparagus spears
Olive Oil
Italian Herb Seasoning Grinder

To Prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse and dry the potatoes. Trim the stem end of the asparagus, rinse and dry. When the potatoes are dry toss them with just enough olive oil to coat, give them a good dusting of seasoning from the Italian herb seasoning grinder and toss again. Spread them evenly in a glass 9 X 12 inch baking dish and roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the asparagus spears with just enough olive oil to coat, give them a good dusting of seasoning from the Italian herb seasoning grinder and toss again. Set the asparagus aside.

2. Warm 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 sprig of rosemary in a non-stick pan over medium high heat swirling the oil occasionally as it heats. Dust the scallops lightly with the Italian herb seasoning.

3. After 15 minutes carefully remove the potatoes from the oven. Carefully tilt the baking dish so that the potatoes move to one side allowing room to add the asparagus spears. Add the asparagus and place the dish back in the oven for 15 minutes longer.

4. While the vegetables finish roasting, sear your scallops: When the oil in the pan is hot the rosemary will begin to crackle and pop. Remove and discard the rosemary then gently place the scallops, one at a time, into the pan. You should hear a distinct sizzling as soon as each scallop hits the oil. Sear the scallops for two minutes on the first side, gently flip, and sear one minute more before removing directly to serving plates. Cover each plate with a paper towel or foil to keep the scallops warm.

5. Remove the vegetables from the oven and set aside to rest.

6. As soon as the last scallop is removed, add the shallots and the wine to the pan. As the wine comes to a boil swirl the pan and, using a wood or silicone spatula, scrape any browned bits from the pan. Reduce until the wine takes on a syrupy consistency then add the lemon juice.

7. Turn off the burner and allow the residual heat to reduce the liquid by half. Gently swirl in the butter cubes 2 or 3 at a time letting these melt before adding 2 or 3 more. Continue swirling the pan until all of the butter has been incorporated, swirl in the basil and spoon the sauce evenly over the scallops.

8. Carefully place the roasted vegetables on the plate and serve.