Scallops au beurre a l’orange (and a ‘hello’ from Argentina!)

Hello from Argentina!

As I have been traveling a lot recently, I have not been able to update the blog with recipes I have been making. Kyle has stepped up so far and served us a few posts in my absence. I did sneak one post in about one of the restaurants I went to in Montreal, but I do feel that I need to post a recipe. So to get around this problem of not having a kitchen and still wanting to post a recipe, I decided to let a guest author post one of her recipes. We may have a few guests pop up from time to time and I feel it’s a good way to cover something Kyle and I may not have normally done.

For this post, I asked a good friend, Erica, to step up and deliver something for us. She was more than happy to oblige. I have known Erica for some time now and admire her fearlessness in the kitchen. She eagerly tackles any style of dish and has a knack for putting together creations of her own. In the past, Erica and I have hosted back-to-back dinners on different night for the same group of friends; each night one of us would make the entire meal. Those evenings were always a treat. I always got new ideas, had a fantastic dinner and got to share it with good friends. We live in different places now, so this post will have fill that role until the next time we meet. Erica and I have also had to share a kitchen at the same time… not an easy task when you are both alpha cooks. We were able to do it seamlessly though; it was a real treat cooking with her.

Anyway, I’ll let Erica speak for herself now:

Scallops in Orange Butter
Scallops au beurre a l’orange)

Fish, considered in general, is an inexhaustible source of reflection to the philosopher.
-Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Scallops in Orange Butter

Scallops in Orange Butter

People may think the good chefs are ones technically trained in the fine artistry of classic French techniques only to produce foods by the steps they have been told to do. A real chef is one who takes those traditions and explores his artistic side to create a whole new method of cooking. My hero of cooking, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, was one amongst those who took the idea of cooking and dove deep into its vast and endless possibilities. He was actually no chef at all, but a philosopher and scientist who studied how food creates atmospheres, feelings, and opportunities. I also like to think about my food and use flavors to put a spin on traditional favorites. So without further ado, the dish:

I know, technically scallops are not fishes. They are mollusks. The reason I did not present a fish recipe is because most of the time I like to keep things very simple with fish.  It’s in scallops that I find the blank canvas I love to use in my cooking, and demonstrates some of Brillat-Savarin’s doctrines. In this dish, these principles play into my cuisine by creating a memory based on the smells, atmosphere and people. France is my inspiration when I think of my favorite ways, means, and places to cook. Coquilles Saint Jacques is responsible for some of my fondest memories I have of France: cooking a special meal for my boyfriend or partaking in a late night snack with his family in the summertime. It is not only a comfort food, an easy dish, but also a dish that can be served for one or for entertaining many (especially appropriate for the fall/winter season!) And hopefully you’ll develop some lovely memories of this beautiful bivalve too. One of my favorite sauces to serve with scallops is beurre d’orange and I’d love to share with you my version.

Scallops in Orange Butter

To help keep things organized; this recipe is presented in sections. The different parts of the dish are combined only at the last moment on the plate.

Serves: 2 for dinner or 6 for starter

5 parsnips (washed and cubed)
sea salt
olive oil
¼ cup water
2 Tbsps olive oil

Beurre a l’orange:
Juice of 5 medium oranges
touch of honey
½ cup water
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsps butter

6 large diver scallops- U/15- (see Choosing Scallops)
salt and pepper
fresh tarragon (as garnish)

Parsnips and orange-butter sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Toss the washed, cubed parsnips on cookie sheet with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt. Roast in 450F oven for 20 minutes or until tender.
  3. While parsnips are roasting, begin the beurre a l’orange sauce by adding the juice of the 5 oranges, one half cup of water, and a small amount of honey into a small sauce pan (honey is messy to measure, so just give the honey bear a small squeeze).
  4. Stir to combine and cook on medium heat until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. There are a couple reasons to do this: one, to thicken the sauce and two, to concentrate the orange flavor. (I don’t generally like to use the orange zest in this particular application because I like a smooth looking sauce.) Here is how it will look in beginning and end. Notice the color change.
  5. Stir 1 tsp white pepper and 2 tbsps butter into the sauce.
  6. Once parsnips are done, transfer to a food processor (I used a blender since that’s all I have here) and add one quarter cup of water and 2 tbsps olive oil. Blend together until smooth, if desired consistency has not been reached, add water in small amounts and pulse. Set aside.

ScallopsPreparing scallops


Before you are about to cook you want to remove the touch adductor muscle on the side of the scallop. It will be a little darker and have a rougher texture than the rest of the scallop. Just gently remove this part and it should come off very easily. Pat dry with paper towels to remove as much moisture as you can from the scallop. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Searing Scallops

Searing scallops seems to be hard to master for many of my friends. I will spend some time here in an attempt to simplify this technique so that no more will you fear searing these to perfection.

  1. The first important thing to do with your prepared scallop is to pat it dry, as dry as you can get it.
  2. Make sure your pan is hot, on medium high heat, with a thin layer of oil in the pan. Scallops have a natural milk that dissipates when the heat is too low, from my experiences, so it is important that your pan be hot enough to not let this happen. If you do end up with some milk in your pan, just wipe it out with every new addition of scallops.
  3. Place lightly seasoned scallops in pan, 2 at a time opposite of each other. Cook for 2 minutes and do not move!!
  4. Flip each scallop over in the other pair of empty spaces on the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes on this side and remove from heat. I do this to ensure that each side of the scallop gets the same amount of heat and a fresh coating of oil. If you flip it in the same position, there is heat loss that occurs from the first side and less oil means less golden seared surface.

Now it’s time to plate! (Plating is something we haven’t really covered on Safe to Eat yet, so it’s nice the Erica is giving this some attention. -William)

Place ½ of parsnip puree on a plate for dinner or 1/6 of puree for appetizer. Divide 3 scallops among plates for dinner or 1 on each appetizer plate. Evenly distribute the sauce over the top of the scallops. Tear off fresh tarragon leaves from the stem and place on top. Serve immediately.


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