If you are looking for a decadent meal for a special occasion, look no further than fresh sea scallops served with a creamy saffron sauce. This recipe is truly delectable, a wonderful treat.
You might be asking whether I went to the grocery store and just picked out the most expensive ingredients I could find, but that is not the case. We had a special occasion that called for a more exceptional meal than normal, and this is what I came up with.
Scallops are buttery and delicious, and best of all versatile and quick to make. What started as a regular coconut cream sauce needed a little more punch, and that is when the saffron came into play.
Saffron, probably one of the most expensive spices in the world, has a slightly sweet and complex flavor. I have actually been able to find saffron for a reasonable price at both Whole Foods and Trader Joes.
When you are cooking with saffron, keep in mind that a little goes a very long way. Only a pinch of the threads is needed for this recipe, so that it does not over-dominate the sauce. The addition of saffron elevates the dish to another level entirely.
Scallops, on the other hand, take on other flavors beautifully, which is why they pair well with the saffron sauce. The trick to searing scallops is to make sure to pat them dry with paper towel, and also to be patient once they are in the pan.
They are ready to flip over only after the sear marks appear on the bottom of the scallops, browned and caramelized.
Because it was a special occasion I also used white wine in the sauce, mainly to deglaze the pan. I usually don’t include alcohol in my recipes, so if you would like to substitute, use one tablespoon of white wine vinegar instead of the cup of wine. You could even double the sauce for the recipe and serve the scallops with some zucchini pasta for an extra-extra special meal.
- 12 large sea scallops
- 3 tbsp ghee, divided
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Blot the scallops with paper towel and lightly season with salt. Heat two tablespoons ghee and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the scallops in the pan and sear. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the bottom is browned, and then turn over and sear on the opposite side. Remove the scallops to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
- Add the wine to the skillet and deglaze. Turn the heat to medium-low and reduce the wine by half. Stir in the coconut milk and the remaining tablespoon of ghee. Add the saffron threads and stir well to combine. Return the scallops to the pan and turn to coat. Serve immediately, topped with fresh parsley.
More Good Pan Seared Scallop Recipes
1. Pan-Seared Scallops with Cauliflower Puree
This pan seared scallop recipe can easily be divided into three main parts. First the velvety cauliflower puree is cooked with roasted garlic and ghee. Then almonds are toasted and diced to add crunch to the dish. Lastly the scallops are simply pan-seared with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. When combined together, this dish makes a decadent and elegant meal.
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp almond milk
1 tsp ghee
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup almonds
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp coconut oil
6 oz. small scallops
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Place a couple inches of water in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, place steamer insert and then cauliflower florets into the pot and cover. Steam for 12-14 minutes, until completely tender. Drain and return cauliflower to pot.
2. Add the garlic, milk, ghee, and salt to the cauliflower. Using an immersion blender or food processor, combine until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Lightly toast the almonds in a pan over low heat. Remove from heat and finely chop. Drizzle with lemon juice.
4. Rinse the scallops with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Melt the coconut oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the scallops to the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear for 2-3 minutes per side.
5. To assemble, spoon some cauliflower puree onto the plates. Place scallops on top and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Top with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil to serve.
2. Pan Seared Scallops with Balsamic Glaze
Pan seared scallops do not take long to cook and can be served as an appetizer or for a main entrée. In this recipe apple cider and balsamic vinegar make a thick, sweet glaze for the seared scallops. Though there are several steps, the recipe comes together fairly quickly. Serve the delectable scallops over a bed of kale or spinach.
12 large sea scallops
3 slices bacon
4 cups kale
2 tbsp ghee, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup apple cider
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1. Blot the scallops with paper towel and lightly season with salt. Set aside, resting on paper towels.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cider, balsamic, and honey. Set aside.
3. Add half a tablespoon of ghee into a small pan and melt over medium heat. Add the kale and sauté until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, place the bacon into a large skillet and cook until crisp. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate and crumble into pieces. Leave one tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan and remove the rest.
5. Add the remaining ghee to the skillet with the bacon grease over medium-high heat. Place the scallops in the pan and sear. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the bottom is browned, and then turn over and sear on the opposite side. Remove the scallops to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
6. Add the balsamic mixture to the skillet and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the liquid has reduced. To serve, place the scallops over the wilted kale and drizzle with the balsamic glaze. Top with crumbled bacon and serve immediately.