Easter is over and all those hours in the kitchen were probably worth it, but let’s face it, you don’t always have that kind of time. If you are like me, you need an arsenal of good, fast food, like fast and easy seared scallops. Don’t let the three little scallops scare you into thinking this is not enough food. You can certainly make this a much larger portion. This is the kind of dish that can be a first course, a lunch, or a light meal.
Seared scallops with braised fennel is a restaurant inspired meal, but done much more lightly. The original dish had a heavy butter, lemon sauce that I had no time for and you probably don’t always either. This is also one of those in between meals. The kind of meals I eat when I need to go light, because I’m in between food events. But, light doesn’t mean carrot sticks or a protein shake. It can still mean good food..
Seafood pairs fabulously with braised fennel. I discovered that when I made this recipe from Le Cordon Bleu at Home. Even if you think you’re not a fennel person, you might be a braised fennel person. It cooks in mere minutes aided with a bit of butter, perhaps a splash of wine, and it sweetens up and takes on a completely different character than it’s overpowering raw state.
I love both, but while raw fennel is loud, leaning on obnoxious unless tamed with other ingredients, braised fennel is demure and its sweetness alluring. The sweetness of seared scallops harmonizes with the sweet in the braised fennel. To counter this, I added in a grape tomato, feta cheese salad.
If this is dinner, I suggest at least 3/4 pounds of scallops for two. Scallops are pricey. This is not an inexpensive meal. It’s a splurge, but it will cost a lot more in a restaurant and once you learn to sear them properly yourself, you can enjoy them more often.
I always purchase wild sea scallops, make sure to clean them well and remove that little side muscle.
Dry them with a paper towel and heat the pan to a medium heat. The trick with scallops is patience. Don’t turn them over, until they are ready to move easily. Trust that they will caramelize and brown. This takes about 5 or 6 minutes. Once turned over for another 2 minutes, you have perfectly tender, seared scallops, so good, that they don’t need a sauce.
Seared Scallops with braised fennel, a very simple, clean, delicious dinner made in twenty minutes.
Braised Fennel with Seared Scallops
- splash white wine or dry vermouth
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 Fennel Bulbs
- 3/4 to 1 pound scallops
- olive oil enough to cover pan
- 1 teaspoon of butter
- Cut stems and trim out the core of fennel bulb. Rinse and drain.
- Cut fennel cross wise into strips. It will reduce down in size once braised.
- Place in sauce pan with enough water to cover bottom.
- Add splash wine, knob butter.
- Braise until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Clean scallops, by rinsing and removing side muscle.
- Rinse and dry scallops with several paper towels. Any moisture will prevent browning.
- Heat olive oil with butter in frying pan to medium high heat.
- Place scallops in pan and turn to medium heat. Do not crowd pan. Do in batches if necessary.
- Cook for 4-6 minutes until the scallop easily moves and is browned.
- Turn over for approximately one minute.
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Two More Fast and East Scallop Recipes:
You can make Greg’s version of this on the grill. (Sippity Sup).
If you want to get really crazy, try this Seared Scallops and Grilled Watermelon Recipe.