Friday, June 9, 2017

Orange Fennel Scallops

In full disclosure, for the past 20 years, I have not eaten anything that comes from the sea. This was not always the case. Before my self-imposed seafood ban, I loved scallops. Specifically, sea scallops.

One consequence of my seafood aversion is there are little to no fish or seafood recipes on this blog. I do however, have a few hits to share in the next months. 

I originally found a version of this recipe in a German cooking magazine. Even a non fish eater like me had to bow down to the flavor combo.

In this recipe, large juicy sea scallops are seared in extra virgin olive oil and served on a bed of caramelized fennel-accented with the bright citrus flavor of fillet orange slices. 

This fancy dish is relatively easy to pull together. It takes some time to caramelize the fennel strips but while that is happening you can practice how to fillet an orange. You might want to buy an extra one just in case. It takes a little practice but the results are worth it.
Orange Fennel Scallops
Prep Time: 25 minutes 
Cook Time: 45 minutes 
Yield: Serves 2 
  • 8 large sea scallops
  • 2fennel bulbs
  • 2 oranges
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
  • 1/2 teaspoon white granulated sugar 
  • Sea salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Wash the fennel and pat dry. Halve the bulbs and remove the stems. Cut each half into very thin strips. 
  • Save a few sprigs of the green leafy part for garnish, if desired. 
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil and one tablespoon unsalted butter in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the fennel strips and toss until coated. Sprinkle with the white granulated sugar. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the fennel pieces, stirring occasionally until they are soft and starting to brown. 
  • Season with seas salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add the orange juice to the softened fennel and cook until most of the juice has been absorbed. 
  • While the fennel is cooking, take a small sharp knife and cut off the top and bottom of one of the oranges. You should be able to see the orange flesh from each side. 
  • Use the knife to score the peel into sections (4 or 5), then, gently push the knife between the orange and the peel to cut it away, cutting the peel off in strips. Make sure to cut the white pith off as well. The result should be a perfectly orange with no skin or white parts. Do this work over a dish to catch any excess juice. 
  • Separate the skinned orange into wedges. Carefully cut away the membranes of each section and set the orange fillets aside. 
  • Cut the other orange in half and squeeze the juice out of each half. Combine the freshly squeezed juice with the drippings from the fillet orange. 
  • Rinse the scallops and pat dry with a paper towel. In a separate frying pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. 
  • When the oil become hot, sear the scallops on both sides, making sure they are thoroughly cooked. 
  • Divide the orange fennel between four plates. Add four scallops to each plate then garnish with the fennel greens, if desired and serve.

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