We know you’ve seriously stepped up your culinary game this 2020 — we’ve been watching your TikTok and Instagram. Here’s a recipe to add to your repertoire that’s not only impressive but easy. And it fits right in with a Feast of the Seven Fishes theme this holiday season.
I love making a seared sea scallop for dinner parties, because it’s one of the easiest recipes but it immediately elevates any meal. I normally create the sea scallop as the first course as you can sear the scallops before guests arrive, and serve them room temperature but with the warmed vanilla sauce. It’s part of my no-fuss philosophy when I entertain, and have all of my dishes pre-prepped and essentially just assembled and warmed through before serving. The vanilla beurre blanc sauce is also easy and make ahead, but the key is to not have the butter separate, or “break” which is the more technical term, and requires your full attention to regulate the temperature. I can smell the vanilla just writing about this dish.
Seared Sea Scallops in Vanilla Beurre Blanc
Serves 4 as an appetizer
The secret to a perfectly seared sea scallop is to make sure there is no moisture whatsoever on the scallop and to have a very hot skillet. I like to use cast iron that when I drop the scallop on, almost immediately browns and is ready to turn after a minute and a half. The second side should only take less than a minute, then you can set the scallops aside in a microwave, covered until you’re ready to plate the dish. Using the microwave is my trick to keeping food warm that I don’t want to dry out in the oven. Of course, don’t even think about turning that microwave on with your carefully seared sea scallops.
In a medium sauce pan, sauté the shallots in olive oil for about 2-3 minutes, until softened. Do not brown the shallots. Add in the cup of white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce hit to low and one pat at a time, whisk in the butter. If your heat is too high, the sauce will break so make sure you keep the flame on the lowest setting. About halfway through adding the butter, scrape the vanilla out of the pods, then continue to add the butter. Keep the sauce warm until ready to serve.
To plate, spoon enough of the sauce to barely cover a salad plate. Place three of the scallops in a triangle shape in the center of the plate, and garnish with edible flowers and chives. Serve immediately
3 large sea scallops, washed and patted very dry
Fleur du sel
Vanilla Beurre Blanc
1 shallot finely diced
1 cup white wine
1 ½ sticks high quality butter
2 vanilla bean pods
Chives and edible flowers to garnish