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.