Monday, May 23, 2011

Sea scallops in saffron cream sauce

Seared scallops are one of my absolute favorite foods, but they can be very difficult to get right. Their basic preparation is very simple - just sear them in a pan with some olive oil or butter. The challenge is cooking them for the perfect amount of time. There's a very delicate balance between scallops that are too raw and scallops that are overcooked and rubbery. Most recipes will tell you to cook them for 1 1/2 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the scallops. Generally, you just want to cook them until they've got a nice golden brown crust on each side. The recipe I'm using comes from the cooking blog bell'alimento. This recipe takes a basic pan-seared scallops and adds a saffron cream sauce. The sauce turned out thinner than I would have liked, but it still added a nice buttery flavor to scallops. I probably should have let the white wine reduce a bit longer.

On the side I made balsamic roasted brussel sprouts with grape tomatoes and slivered almonds. This recipe is inspired by numerous others, but isn't based on any one in particular. The balsamic vinegar worked great with the sprouts.

Scallops in saffron cream sauce
6 tablespoons unsalted butter – divided
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 large sea scallops – patted dry (About 1 pound)
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
pinch of saffron threads

1. Into a nonstick pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil.
2. Add sea scallops. Season tops with salt and sear well on both sides. Careful to turn only once {you don’t want scallops to tear} Remove scallops from pan and keep warm. (I added a bit of fresh ground pepper.)
3. Add wine to hot pan and deglaze pan. Reduce temperature to medium – low and allow wine to reduce by half.
4. Add cream, remaining butter and allow to combine. Once butter has combined, add saffron threads. Stir well to combine.
5. Return scallops to pan. Turn to coat. Serve immediately.

Balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts with grape tomatoes and slivered almonds
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Trim the ends and any yellow leaves off of the Brussels sprouts. Cut them in half.
3. Toss the prepared Brussels sprouts in a bowl with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, grape tomatoes, salt and pepper.
4. Put the Brussels sprouts mixture in a roasting plan. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, tossing occasionally.
5. Toast the almonds in a dry pan for about 3 minutes until lightly browned. Add to the Brussels sprouts with about 5 minutes left in the roasting.

The results:

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