Scallops can be a sweet, simple treat and the real star of a meal. Sear them with a little salt and pepper or cover them with a flavorful saffron sauce. They're even great smoked, on top of a salad.
Scallops cook quickly and they make for the perfect easy, summer meal. Here are four recipes to try for dinner tonight.
Scallops with saffron sauce
Total time: About 45 minutes
Note: Adapted from a recipe for the film from the French Culinary Institute. In the film, the secret ingredient to the saffron sauce is kaffir lime leaves. They are included as an optional ingredient here. Fresh kaffir lime leaves can be found at Bangkok Market in Hollywood and West Central Produce as well as some farmers markets.
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup finely minced shallots
1 pinch saffron threads
1 fresh kaffir lime leaf, lightly crushed (optional)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1. In a medium heavy-bottomed sauté pan, combine the white wine and shallots over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce until about 2 tablespoons of liquid remain, several minutes.
2. Add the saffron and optional kaffir lime leaf. Reduce the heat to medium and add the heavy cream, whisking to combine. Add the butter, a few cubes at a time, whisking to incorporate it into the sauce. Add a few more cubes as each batch is incorporated, and watch that the sauce never comes to a boil. When all of the butter is incorporated, strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a small sauté pan over low heat.
3. Add the lemon juice, a pinch of salt and small pinch of pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If the consistency is a little thick, thin it out with a little water, 1 teaspoon at a time, whisking to incorporate. Remove from the heat and set aside in a warm place. (Makes about 1 cup.)
Seared scallops and assembly
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
16 sea scallops, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, oregano, pepper and lemon zest. Roll the scallops in the mixture until lightly coated on all sides.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium heavy-bottomed skillet or frying pan over high heat until shimmering. Add 8 scallops to the pan and sear on all sides (about 1 1/2 minutes on each side). Remove the scallops from the pan and set aside in a warm place while the remaining scallops are cooked. Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining scallops.
3. Toss the scallops lightly with the chopped parsley and lemon juice. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sauce on each plate. Depending on the size of the scallops, place 2 to 4 scallops on each plate. Serve immediately.
Each of 8 servings: 248 calories; 6 grams protein; 6 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 22 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 59 mg. cholesterol; 491 mg. sodium.
Baby scallop ceviche
Total time: About 1 hour
Note: Adapted from Las Ventanas al Paraiso
1 pound, 5 ounces cleaned bay scallops
3/4 cup lime juice (from about 8 limes)
1/3 cup minced red onion
1/3 cup seeded and diced tomato
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
1 seeded and diced jalapeño, or to taste
Scant 1 cup diced cilantro, from about 1 bunch
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. In a medium bowl, marinate the scallops in the lime juice for 30 minutes, covered and refrigerated, tossing every 10 minutes.
2. Strain and save the lime juice. Stir in the onion, tomato, cucumber, jalapeño and cilantro. Stir in the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper, and add back lime juice to taste as desired. Serve immediately.