Sunday, February 15, 2009

Blood Orange Scallops with Sea Beans

This was my attempt at a fancy appetizer. Scallops are kind of intimidating to me for some reason, but they really are super easy to prepare. I found some jumbo scallops at Whole Foods, and they make for a really dramatic presentation with very little effort. I did learn a few things about scallops, though, if you're experimenting with them for the first time.

Scallops have little 'feet' which is just a small, tough muscle along the side which needs to be removed. Also, if you can find dry-pack scallops, they sear much better and keep a much better consistency than wet-pack.

This is also my experience with sea beans, but I saw them used them on Iron Chef one night and so that practically makes me professional. They have a briny crunch to them which pairs really well with the scallop. I used them raw here, but you could probably stir fry them for a minute or two to soften them up (I don't think they need it, though).

And just one more note on the presentation. You'll notice in the picture that I used a blood orange slice to the plate as garnish. The red and orange make a beautiful contrast, but were I to do it again, I would use a supreme wedge of the orange so you could actually eat it rather than just look at it.

Blood Orange Sea Scallops with Sea Beans


  • 2 medium blood oranges
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 or 3 sprigs parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large sea scallops
  • Sea beans, enough to form small beds for each scallop
Supreme 4 segments of the blood orange, and set aside. Place the rest of the flesh from both oranges in a food processor with the cream and salt and pepper. Puree until very smooth.

Remove and discard the feet from the scallops, and then lightly salt and pepper the remaining flesh. If you want to add a few presentation points, slice shallow X's across the top and bottom of the scallops (they sear beautifully that way).

Pour a thin layer of oil in a non-stick pan and heat to medium high (until the oil starts to smoke slightly). Add the scallops and let sit still for a few minutes (3-4) until the edges are seared golden, then flip and sear the other side.

Meanwhile, wash and arrange the sea beans and the orange supreme on the plates. When the second face of the scallops are seared, place on the bed of sea beans.

Quickly pour the orange-cream mixture into the hot pan, and stir quickly to incorporate the olive oil into the mixture. Taste for seasoning, then top the scallops with the sauce.

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