Dorie Greenspan’s Sensational Scallops

A scallop dish that will make any day a whole lot better.

“Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce” should have to be registered as a mind-altering, mood-enhancing dish.

That’s because this dish from Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table” (Houghton Mifflin) is guaranteed to lift your spirits, put a delirious grin on your face and give you happy feet.

That’s how incredibly delicious it is.

Stressed over your job?

Eat this dish.

Stressed about not having a job?

Eat this.

There’s magic in this dish. It’s really just seared scallops, but it’s the thick, syrupy, buttery citrus glaze that gets spooned over that makes it extraordinary. Seriously, one taste and you’ll want to pour it over everything — grilled halibut, broiled shrimp, chicken tenders, pork loin and even French toast.

The sweet, tangy, sticky sauce starts simply with sugar that’s melted in a small saucepan on the stove. This takes a few minutes, but once the sugar starts to melt, it happens fast, so be sure to watch it closely. Once it’s caramelized, add white wine and orange juice. Just before serving, swirl in chunks of cold butter that will give the sauce glorious body and shine.

Then, sit back and enjoy one mind-altering substance that’s not only addicting, but completely legal.

Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce

(Serves 4)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup dry white wine

Juice of 1 large orange (generous 1/3 cup)

1 pound sea scallops

1/2 to 1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces

Sprinkle sugar into a small saucepan. Place pan over medium-high heat and warm the sugar until it starts to melt and color. As soon as you see it turn brown, begin to gently swirl the pan. When the sugar has turned a deep caramel color (you can put a drop of sugar on a white plate to test the color), about 3 minutes, stand back and add white wine and orange juice. It may bubble and spatter, so watch out. Turn heat up to high, stir with a wooden spoon, and boil the sauce until it is reduced by half — you should have about 1/3 cup. Pull pan from the heat and set it aside. (You can make the sauce up to 2 days ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator.)

Pat scallops dry between paper towels. Slice or pull off the little muscle attached to the sides of the scallops. Have a warm serving platter and a small strainer at the ready.

Put saucepan with the caramel sauce over very low heat so that it can warm while you cook the scallops.

Put a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, pour in 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add scallops, season them with salt and white pepper, and cook, without moving them, for 2 minutes. Flip the scallops over, season with salt and white pepper, add a little more oil if needed, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the scallops are firm on the outside and just barely opaque in the center — nick one to test. Transfer the scallops to the serving platter.

Check that the caramel sauce is hot — give it more heat if necessary. Pull the pan from the heat and toss in butter, bit by bit, swirling the pan until the butter is melted and the sauce is glistening. Season sauce with salt and white pepper, then pour it through the strainer into a sauceboat or pitcher.

Drizzle some of the sauce over the scallops and pass the rest at the table.

From “Around My French Table” by Dorie Greenspan

Another Dorie Greenspan Recipe: Sardine Rillettes

Another Scallop Recipe: Ad Hoc’s Caramelized Sea Scallops

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