speedy seared sea scallops

January 10, 2010 § 9 Comments

The gap in my posting over the holidays is mostly due to the amazing food I’m served when I go visit my family. Technically I could still cook, but I’m in someone else’s kitchen and don’t quite have the gall to start messing with their implements, especially since both houses I visit are inhabited by men who are extraordinarily skilled in the kitchen. Instead I happily plop down at the table, waiting to be fed better meals than I ever make myself (I am prone to eating cookies for dinner).

But this year, my father suggested we cook a meal together. I was mildly apprehensive, since both of us are pretty bossy in the kitchen, but he insisted that he would like to be my sous-chef. And it actually was a lot of fun! Although my sous-chef was somewhat snarky, as I had predicted. Anyhow, here is an actual dinner recipe: seared sea scallops with tarragon butter sauce.

This recipe is both incredibly quick and incredibly good. You can briefly feel virtuous for eating seafood, and then pour excesses of butter over the whole thing. Seriously, this meal was one of the favourite things I’ve eaten in a while. It’s important not to overcook the scallops, but other than that it’s hard to screw up. For instance, I overheated my butter sauce so it was more melty than it was supposed to be, but it didn’t make the slightest difference, except for that the butter spread onto the other parts of my meal (clearly a good thing). We served this with steamed green beans, and a very tasty risotto that for some reason took an hour and a half to make, so I’ll hold off on posting risotto recipes until I figure out what went wrong. In the meantime, eat some scallops!

Seared Sea Scallops with Tarragon Butter Sauce – adapted from Epicurious

Serves 2.

  • 12 ounces large sea scallops, tough ligament from side of each discarded
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, divided
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon (I think I actually used more)
  • Salt and pepper

Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sear scallops, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Add shallot, wine, and vinegar to skillet and boil, scraping up brown bits, until reduced to approximately a tablespoon. Add juices from platter and if necessary boil until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Reduce heat to low and add 2 tablespoons butter, stirring until almost melted, then take pan off heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, swirling until incorporated and sauce has a creamy consistency. Stir in tarragon and salt to taste; pour sauce over scallops.



§ 9 Responses to speedy seared sea scallops

  • patsy says:

    Those scallops look amazing! Very nice crust on the outside… something I’m still working on learning to do.

  • BNDQ8 says:

    i love scallops…a very nice recipe!!never tried Tarragon Butter Sauce … maybe i’ll try this recipe soon at home 🙂

  • Carrie says:

    Wow, this looks wonderful. Seared scallops are so great on their own, but I bet that tarragon sauce makes them even more amazing! What a nice supper.

  • Daddy says:

    I am glad I only got snarky as my attribute.

    But those are the funniest looking green beans I have ever seen. But what do I know?

  • Laura says:

    thanks all!

    Patsy – it helps to make sure the butter is quite hot before putting the scallops in. You can tell when it’s ready by waiting for it to melt, foam, and then finally stop foaming.

  • Kishanda says:

    Laura! Your blog is so pretty and delightful! I love the photography!

    I wish I could post as much as you! I blame grad school being busy….and choose to ignore than you’re in a harder area of grad studies than me 🙂

  • Kate says:

    I just wanted to say I just made these, and they were wonderful – what a delicious sauce! I cut them in half because I prefer a little more sear-to-scallop ratio, but so totally tasty 🙂

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