I have a confession to make...we own 100 cookbooks. At least in the quick count of one of our cabinets. Our newest addition arrived last week "around my french table" by Dorie Greenspan. Jeff loves to read some of the reviews on Amazon and said this one was phenominal. He especially liked it because it had some really great French recipes, not a style of cooking we normally use. We spent most of last week thumbing through the cookbook, marking off our favorite recipes. Both of us decided that since we hadn't had scallops in quite a while the Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce would be our first recipe.
The recipe was simple with a few ingredients and the process to get everything prepared took about 20 minutes. You could serve this dish as a meal as well as an appetizer. We enjoyed the scallops with couscous and broccoli. And I'll have to admit, after eating the scallops, I was running my broccoli and couscous through the remainder of the sauce.
The sauce was sweet but not overpowering, just delicious...incredible...amazing. I love this style of sauce with seafood. It never takes away from the wonderful taste of the scallops.
The best description of this recipe : quick, easy, sweet and delicious. This is a keeper!
2 tablespoons of white sugar
1/2 cup of dry white wine
Juice of 1 large orange - generous 1/3 cup (we used a blood red orange)
1 pound of sea scallops (we used dry scallops)
1/2 to 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, for taste
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into 3 pieces
Candied Orange Zest (recipe below)
Sprinkle the sugar into a small sauce pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and warm the sugar until it starts to melt and color. As soon as you see it turn brown, begin to gently swirl the pan. When the sugar has turned a deep caramel color (you can put a drop of sugar on a white plate to test the color), about 3 minutes, stand back and add the white wine and orange juice. It may bubble and spatter, so watch out. Turn the heat up to high, stir with a wooden spoon, and boil the sauce until it is reduced by half — you should have about 1/3 cup. Pull the pan from the heat and set it aside. (You can make the sauce up to 2 days ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator.)
Pat the scallops dry between two paper towels. Slice or pull off the little muscle attached to the sides of the scallops. Have a warm serving platter and a small strainer at the ready.
Put the sauce pan with the caramel sauce over very low heat so that it can warm while you cook the scallops.
Put a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, pour in 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the scallops, season them with salt and pepper, add a little more oil if needed, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the scallops are firm on the outside and just barely opaque in the center — nick one to test. Transfer the scallops to the serving platter.
Check that the caramel sauce is hot — give it more heat if necessary. Pull the pan from the heat and toss in the butter, bit by bit, swirling the pan until the butter is melted and the sauce is glistening. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, then pour through the strainer into a sauce boat or pitcher. Drizzle some of the sauce over the scallops and pass the rest at the table.
Before you squeeze the juice from the orange, cut off the zest using a zester, a vegetable peel or a knife, avoiding the cottony, white pith. Bring a small sauce pan of water to a boil, toss in the zest and boil for one minute, then drain in a strainer and rinse under cold water. Put 3/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of white sugar in the pan and cook, stirring until dissolved and the syrup is boiling. Add the zest, reduce the heat to as low as possible and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the zest is soft. At serving time, remove the zest with chopsticks or a slotted spoon and strew it over the caramel-sauced scallops.