I’ve watched enough food TV to know that scallops are deceptively difficult to cook. You want to get a good crust on the top and bottom, without overcooking the center. So I guess that’s why even though I will order scallops ad nauseam at restaurants, I’ve never ventured to make them at home. And, to be honest, I still can’t say that I did. The Hubs graciously took on the scallop cooking and absolutely nailed it. But I will take credit for the Brussels sprouts and they were also knee-slappingly fantastic. I found this recipe on a blog called In Sock Monkey Slippers and followed it pretty much to the letter, except that we used pre-cubed pancetta. I will say that we almost killed ourselves making the sauce and although it was pretty good, it’s not a sauce I would risk my life for again. I think our problem was that we had oil in the pan when we added wine to it and it was definitely a major hazard to bare arms and open eyes. Don’t do that.
3oz cubed pancetta
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 sea scallops (we used 10 as ours were on the small side)
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 cup dry white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3 tablespoons butter
In a sauté pan over medium heat, cook the pancetta about 3-5 minutes until the fat starts to render, and then add in the shallots. Saute another 5 minutes or so. You want the pancetta to be crispy. Add the thinly sliced Brussels sprouts as well as the lemon juice and toss, making sure the sprouts get covered with the pancetta juice. The instructions said to sauté just for 5 minutes, but I like to get my Brussels sprouts with a touch of color on them, so we probably went for more like 7 or 8 minutes. Do as you like. Add salt and pepper to taste (we also added some red pepper flakes) and set aside.
For the scallops, pat dry with a paper towel (essential for getting a crust) and season with a good amount of salt and pepper. This is the only seasoning on your scallop. Heat the grapeseed oil and when it’s very hot, add the scallops, searing on top and bottom for about 3-4 minutes a side. You want to get that nice golden sear. Remove to a plate and reduce the heat to medium.
Here’s where we nearly burned ourselves and the entire house, so be careful. Let the oil cool down, and consider pouring most of it out. I really think the combo of wine and hot oil was our issue. I’m not even sure you need any oil in the pan at all. So, carefully add the wine to the pan. Hopefully you’ve let it cool enough that it doesn’t automatically go crazy and splash all over you like it did for us. You want to simmer the wine until it reduces to about a tablespoon, which should take about five minutes. Add in the thyme and whisk in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Remove it from the heat when the butter is fully melted into the sauce.
Serve the scallops on top of the Brussels sprouts with a little drizzle of the sauce over each scallop. It feels fancy, but it really isn’t all that difficult once you get the hang of it. Good luck with your scallops!