For me nothing signals the changing seasons like the return of “La coquille Saint-Jacques” to the fishmongers. In France, scallops start to appear in the market with the autumn leaves in October and then trickle out with the arrival of the spring vegetables in mid-May.
As with all seafood, especially something as delicately flavoured as scallops, I like to keep the sauce simple and let the main ingredient shine. (What I mean by a simple sauce is that the flavours are straightforward – but simple here also means easy to make and even better can mostly be prepared in advance.)
Pan roasted scallops with orange-lemon sauce
- Serves 4
- 2 tbsp (28 g) butter
- 12 scallops, rinsed and patted dry
- Citrus dressing:
- 250 ml (2 oranges) orange juice
- 50 ml (1 lemon) lemon juice
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp mirin
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- Mix of herbs (parsley, chervil, dill, chives), roughly chopped
- 1 small shallot, finely minced
- For the dressing: Combine the orange and lemon juice along with the sugar in a small sauce pan. Simmer over medium heat until reduce to 60 ml (1/4 cup). Whisk in remaining ingredients - except the butter, taste to adjust seasoning. Set aside.
- Prepare the garnish: Combine the mixed herbs with the finely minced shallot. Set aside.
- Just before cooking the scallops, reheat the sauce and add the cooked, cubed butter. Swirl the pan to incorporate. Strain the sauce to rremove the shallots if you prefer a smoother textured sauce. Keep warm.
- To cook the scallops: Make sure they are dry then season with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a skillet large enough to hold all the scallops without crowding. When the butter begins to foam, add the scallops and cook 1 minute, then flip and cook the other side 1 minute. (*if you are cooking the scallops with the roe or "coral" attached, lightly pierce the roe before cooking. The roe will expand from the heat and can burst and spraying the cook with hot butter!)
- To serve: Spoon the sauce into a small shallow bowl, place the scallops on top and garnish with the herb mixture.