One of the very first recipes I ever posted was for seared scallops.
Not just any seared scallops…seared scallops to die for.
But, in reality, all seared scallops are to die for – as long as you’re working with deliciously plump, fresh sea scallops and you know how to get a good sear going. When you get a good sear on a good scallop, it’s heavenly.
And the best part of it is…it’s so. freaking. simple. It makes me wonder why I haven’t made these since, um, Valentine’s Day – that’s two years ago, hi – to be precise. Special thanks to my dear friends Zan and Scott for reminding me of how great these are (they wrote to tell me they enjoyed them, along with this chive pasta and mushroom dish, for New Year’s Eve – which makes me really, really happy…it’s like you’re somehow with your friends, a part of their night, even though they’re thousands of miles away).
I do need to be reminded sometimes, because as much as I obsess over so many different dishes I make, I’m always looking to try something new. It’s rare that I repeat a dish, and I can only hope that soon I’ll become a good enough cook that I’ll start repeating – because repeating dishes is what makes you really good, it’s what makes you learn the dish inside and out. I think, maybe, I’m getting there.
And then, I was quickly reminded of the other reason scallops aren’t frequenting my menu while at the seafood counter at Whole Foods – scallops, friends, are not cheap. A pricepoint of around $25 per pound means that these babies are reserved for special occasions – and for us, they definitely can’t be served at dinner parties for large groups, not at this point in our lives at least.
This last Saturday was a special occasion for Daniel and I. Why shouldn’t it be? It was a Saturday night and we had no plans; for us, that’s as good as it gets. I got one of my favorite bottles of wine, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – it was even on sale! – and we had an amazing, relaxing night, drinking ice-cold wine on the balcony, talking about our weeks, and eating these luscious scallops (don’t forget to pick up a baguette for the extra sauce!) along with a big green salad, oven-baked truffle fries, and espresso crème brûleé.
That’s what life is all about – finding a random, one-off Saturday night, and turning it into something special.
Easy Beurre Blanc
Beurre blanc is nothing to be afraid of. It’s easy to make, you’ll see – but because it’s mostly – hello! butter – it’s not exactly waistline-friendly. Yes, that means it’s perfect for that once-in-a-while splurge. For more deets on beurre blanc, check out this post.
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- Nice splash of white wine (about 1/4 cup)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and chilled
- Salt and white pepper, to taste
- Dash white wine vinegar or lemon juice, optional
Add shallot and wine to a small saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Allow the mixture to reduce by about 2/3 until it gets nice and thick. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Season to taste, adding vinegar or lemon juice to brighten if you think it needs it.
A stainless steel or cast-iron pan is ideal here – nonstick won’t get you the same sear. But it’ll do if that’s all you have. Make sure the pan is nice and hot! That’s really all you need to know.
- 3/4 pound sea scallops
- All-purpose flour, just enough to dredge
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Snipped chives, for garnish
Season scallops with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when the pan is nice and hot, add the scallops. Cook about 1 1/2 minutes per side, until cooked through and golden brown. Serve with beurre blanc and chives.
Makes 2 – 3 servings.