Jumbo Diver Scallops
Wine Pairing: Hands down the best match for this recipe is a dry rosé from the Provence region of Southern France. Complement this dish with the 2014 Bandol Domaine du Gros’ Nore’ Rosé 2014 ($32.99) or 2014 Les Domaniers Cote du Provence Rosé ($21.99). You could also pair with a good white Burgundy or most any dry white wine.
- 1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops, tendons removed
- Salt and pepper
- 1⁄4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Lemon wedges or Orange Lime Vinaigrette (recipe follows):
Orange Lime Vinaigrette Recipe (makes about 1/2 cup)
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- (Combine orange juice, lime juice, shallot, cilantro, and pepper flakes in medium bowl. Slowly whisk in vegetable and olive oils. Season with salt to taste.)
- Place scallops on rimmed baking sheet lined with clean dish towel. Place second clean dish towel on top of scallops and press gently on towel to blot liquid. Let scallops sit at room temperature for 10 minutes while towels absorb moisture.
- Sprinkle scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in 12‐inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of scallops in single layer, flat side down and cook, without moving, until well browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
- Add 1 Tbsp butter to skillet. Using tongs, flip scallops and continue to cook, using large spoon to baste scallops with melted butter (tilt skillet so butter runs to one side) until sides of scallops are firm and centers are opaque – 30 to 90 seconds longer (remove smaller scallops as they finish cooking). Transfer scallops to large plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Wipe out skillet with paper towels and repeat cooking with remaining oil, scallops, and butter. Serve immediately with lemon wedges or vinaigrette.
Additional Notes from Richard and Bella:
Way back in the dark ages of the late eighties, I managed a “forward” thinking restaurant in Nashville, where, for a blissful period of time, we were one of only five or six restaurants in the country to get seafood from Nova Scotia flown in overnight. The lady on the docks would call late evening letting us know what the boats had caught, we would decide what to order and when the boats docked, she would gather our order and her others, pack it on the dock and get it to the airport. By mid-afternoon we would be picking up our order at the airport and our guests would be enjoying the “fruit de mere” of our labor that evening…for folks here, stranded on the “Third Coast,” it didn’t get any fresher than that!
Nowadays, this isn’t such a rare thing at upscale restaurants but still, for you and and me as homebound gourmets…well, it takes a little more effort to find truly fresh seafood. Good news is, we now have access via “forward thinking” retailers like Whole Foods or maybe your local neighborhood fish monger or online delivery. There are now many selections but Giovanni’s Seafood is a tried and true source - especially for harder to find seafoods from squid to abalone to jumbo diver scallops, to Dungeness crab. Long story short it’s important to emphasize the importance of FRESH when it comes to seafood – and now we’ll take it to another level with our current recipe and talk about “dry” scallops versus “wet.”
“Wet” scallops are those you usually find in the seafood department. Usually they have been frozen and before freezing, were soaked in a solution of sodium tripolyphosphate which helps preserve them and also plumps them up with water weight. We recommend buying “dry” scallops, which have no chemical additives, taste better than “wet,” and will achieve a better sear in the pan. We also strongly encourage seeking out Diver Scallops which are hand harvested rather than dragging nets along the sea floor causing enormous damage. Be sure scallops are fully dry before cooking. ENJOY!
Recipe courtesy of Cool Springs Wines & Spirits team member Richard, and his dog Bella.