Scallops seem to be one of those ingredients that everyone loves to eat, and yet everyone seems to be intimidated by them as well. These savory little sea muscles are area seafood lovers favorite.
Even those that don’t particularly enjoy eating creatures from the sea will change their attitudes for a perfectly caramelized sea scallop.
But why does everyone shy away from cooking them? Perhaps assuming that they’re difficult to prepare, cooks opt for more forgiving, and perhaps cheaper seafood options like shrimp. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, scallops are very easy to make and the prices are quite reasonable. Because they’re dense and rich, you really only need a few larger scallops per portion to make up a hearty meal.
When paired with fresh seasonal veggies and a flavorful starch, a portion of three scallops is plenty for a substantial appetizer or light dinner.
Scallops tend to be less weekday night and more of a weekend evening fare but they don’t have to be. Scallops with parsley and Fleur de Sel are easy to prepare, take less than five minutes and will impress your guests or family with minimal effort! Delicious and decadent!
If you are a lover of food from the sea, the scallop really should be your best friend. Scallops are beautiful chunks of sea meat, waiting to be seared and enjoyed. Usually, you purchase them without any sort of shell and they are white and clean and beautiful. Little work for a huge reward! And like other seafood, they are tender, are like the ocean exploding on your palate and are totally enhanced by simple and delicious flavors, like parsley and French Fleur de Sel!
The Fleur de Sel that’s utilized couldn’t be more decadent seasoning. Because of the labor intense processes involved with harvesting Fleur de Sel, it is considerably more rare and therefore more expensive than average table and sea salts.
It forms naturally only under certain weather conditions, and it must be skimmed off the surface by hand – using special sieves. Ordinary sea salt is made by evaporating sea water and then collecting the remaining salt. Fleur de Sel is first and foremost, salty – but it also contains a host of other nuances that make it so special.
It has a fairly high moisture content (not totally dry) and retains some of those mineral sea brine flavors. Because the cost of Fleur de Sel is fairly high, it’s best used as a garnish, rather than something you’d mix into a recipe. Plus, you don’t want to lose those beautiful crunchy crystals!
To create this masterpiece of a dish, simply lay a paper towel out on a sheet pan. Set the scallops on the towel, and drape another across the top. Push gently but firmly to remove any excess moisture. Any additional moisture will inhibit browning or caramelizaton of the scallops, leaving you with a sad steamed lump, not a nicely browned scallop.
Once dry, season the scallops on both sides with the Fleur de Sel. Heat a splash of olive oil in a saute pan and heat it over medium high heat. Just as the oil begins to melt and shimmer, add your scallops, pressing them down gently to ensure the entire surface is touching the pan.
Allow the scallops to sear for a minute or two, until they’ve developed a deep brown crust. Turn off the heat, and flip the scallops. Let them cook through from the bottom for just a minute or so, they’ll over cook quickly.
Then into the pan goes a splash of white wine. Turn up the heat and allow the wine to reduce down to about two tablespoons of liquid. Add a splash of lemon juice, and again, reduce. Then add a pinch of chopped parsley.
Finally into the remaining liquid in the pan, add about 2 ounces of cold salted butter. Turn off the heat, and swirl the butter around the liquid to emulsify it and create the sauce.
What you should be left with is a beautiful and delicate buerre blanc – that has just a hint of wine and lemon and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Use a spoon to carefully spoon the sauce over the scallops. Finish with another sprinkle of Fleur de Sel.
And voila! Your stunning new scallop dish is complete! As mentioned, this is just the protein and it’s sauce. Pair with just about any veggie or starch of your choosing. The perfectly seasoned scallops will obviously be the star of the show. And for good reason! Now there, that wasn’t so scary was it?