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Scallops in Saffron Cream Sauce

Seared Sea Scallops in a Saffron Cream Sauce

adapted from “Big Small Plates” by Cindy Pawlcyn


For sauce:

1/2 tablespoon butter

1 to 1-1/2 medium shallots, minced

2 tablespoons Manzanilla or other dry sherry

1/2 cup white wine

generous pinch saffron, crumbled

2 cups heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon salt

Several shakes of cayenne

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper


To make scallops:

12 large sea scallops

Olive oil for brushing

1-2 tbsp. canola oil

4 tbsp. butter


For plating:

4 handfuls fresh baby spinach

1-2 tbsp. butter

garlic salt and pepper to taste


For the sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to caramelize them. Add sherry and cook it down until the pan is almost dry. Add wine and saffron; cook, stirring, until the alcohol has evaporated, another 2 or 3 minutes. Add cream and cook, stirring, until sauce has reduced at least by half, another 2 minutes or so: you want about 1-1/2 cups of sauce that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Finish with salt, cayenne, and white pepper. Keep warm while searing scallops or refrigerate and reheat before serving.


Blot scallops with paper towel or kitchen towel to remove excess moisture, then sear using the butter bomb method (video showing the process is here). Set scallops aside.


In a separate pan, melt the butter and wilt the spinach. Season to taste.


To serve, reheat the sauce, if necessary. Place a mound of spinach on your plate, then arrange scallops on top of the spinach. Top with sauce, and then serve.


Serves: 4

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Taken on February 11, 2009