Valentine’s Day is a time for romance and decadence. A memorable night should include a memorable meal, one with amazing flavors, sweet and savory, and some ingredients you don’t normally use. So we will make some sweet fennel scallops with a caramelized onion orzo. Unlike our pear and bleu cheese purse appetizer, these are much quicker to make. So after you had some fun putting together the purses, sit back and enjoy them with a glass of wine. If you cut up the fennel and onions, and have a pot of water boiling it should only take 20 minutes to prepare this dish.
Jumbo scallops can come in various states of preparation, it is unlikely you will get them in the shell, but they are probably not pan ready. When you get them rinse them off well to remove any grit or soak them in cold water for 20 minutes then rinse if you want to be extra safe. If they have a little nub, the foot, attached on the side, just pull it off. It will be fairly obvious if they have it, most super markets remove it for you. Lastly make sure to pat them dry with a towel before cooking or they won’t sear well.
When sautéing scallops the only real tricks are to make sure the pan is very hot and don’t touch them other than to flip them. If you move them around it just won’t work well. Also don’t overcrowd the pan, no scallop should be touching another scallop.
This recipe makes enough for 2, with 5 scallops a person and a generous portion of caramelized onion orzo.
1 meduim bulb of fennel
½ red onion
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
10 jumbo scallops, 10-20 weight
1) Finely chop the fennel and red onion.
2) Sautee the fennel and onions in a sauté pan with 1 tsp oil for 5 minutes.
3) When they have begun to transluce, add in zest of 1 orange (about 1 tsp packed) and juice of two oranges (about ¼ cup), ¼ cup sugar and ½ tsp salt.
4) Simmer over medium low heat for 5-10 more minutes until soft and sweet with a bit of crunch left.
5) Clean your scallops and pat dry.
6) Salt and pepper the scallops on both sides.
7) In a very hot pan with a little oil sautee the scallops for about 2 minutes per side.
8) Top the scallops with the minced fennel and citrus.
9) Serve and Enjoy!