Caramelized Scallops in a Lemon Wine Sauce

In my effort to get Mr. Fantabulous to eat more seafood (other than tuna) I bought some sea scallops.  Now I personally love these things however if they are made wrong you might as well grab your puppy’s chew toy and gnaw on that for 3 hours.  Trust me, scallops when overcooked have the texture of a rubber tire.  I mean you’ve seen “Hell’s Kitchen” and  heard Gordan Ramsay’s yell of “Touch that. Rubber. They’re rubber! They’re like a ball elastic bands. It’s like a (bleep) golf ball, GOLF BALL!” Love that man! And he’s right.  However, when they are made correct.. they are pure magic!  It’s like they melt in your mouth.  Little puff rounds of awesome!

One thing about scallops is that they are super healthy for you!  They are high in protein (about 17 grams for 3 ounces) which is a awesome! Scallops are actually a very good source of a very important nutrient for cardiovascular health, vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is needed by the body to convert homocysteine, a chemical that can directly damage blood vessel walls, into other benign chemicals. Since high levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk for atherosclerosis, diabetic heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, it’s a good idea to be sure that your diet contains plenty of vitamin B12 to help keep homocysteine levels low (homocysteine is also associated with osteoporosis, and a recent study found that osteoporosis occurred more frequently among women whose vitamin B12 status was deficient or marginal compared with those who had normal B12 status.) Four ounces of scallops contains 33.3% of the daily value for vitamin B12.

Caramelized Scallops3
In addition to their B12, scallops are a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of magnesium and potassium, three other nutrients that provide significant benefits for the cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fats keep your blood flowing smoothly by preventing the formation of blood clots. Magnesium helps out by causing blood vessels to relax, thus helping to lower blood pressure while improving blood flow. Potassium helps to maintain normal blood pressure levels.

<curtsey> You’re welcome for the nutritional session.  LOL

Yeah I dorked out on you for a min.  You’ll have that *wink*.

Caramelized Scallops

As I was saying, I want us to get more seafood in our diets. I love almost all fish (though I only *tolerate* salmon) and my hubby is slowly coming up to speed with *real fish*. Since I knew as soon as I told him what I was making, he was going to channel Gordon’s persona and if I screwed these babies up and gave him the chance to say they were rubber I’d never hear the end of it.  So even though I’ve made this a boat load of times before, it was only ever for me thus I was nervous.  Well not technically nervous but you know… I take pride in what I create and this is one dish that I really wanted to present well AND have it not taste like a tire!  LOL

Caramelized Scallops2

As you can see they came out beautifully!  So soft and tender that literally just melted in your mouth.  It’s funny as I’m not a wine-sauce type of person.  Now it could be the fact that I hate wine.  Trust me, I’ve tried umpteen types.  I’ve been to wine tastings and just don’t like it.  However my friends love to take me since they get doubly tipsy – they drink theirs and then I do the <sip> “EWWWWW this is yucky!  Here Vanessa, you drink it!” and pass it to my girlfriends sisters.  Gotta love ’em! To each their own, right?  However this sauce, when paired with the butter and lemon is just blissful!  It’s light and such the perfect compliment to the scallops.  It balances out the natural sweetness of the scallops.  Caramelizing them takes it to a whole new level!  I highly recommend next time you’re at your local fishery or seafood counter, get some of these.

Caramelized Scallops in a Lemon Wine Sauce


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  • 12 large or 24 medium/small sea scallops
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbl clarified butter *see note
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, spread on a flat plate
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbl lemon juice
  • 1 Tbl fresh minced parsley
  • 1-2 Tbl minced chives
  • 1 Tbl lemon zest
  1. Rinse and dry the scallops well.
  2. Season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a skillet (not non-stick!) on medium-high for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the clarified butter and swirl to coat the pan.
  5. When the butter begins to foam, sugar the scallops quickly.
  6. Working quick, coat one side of each scallop in sugar, grasping the sides and using a gentle twisting motion to help the sugar adhere.
  7. Place the scallops sugar side down in the skillet and sauté for 2 1/2 minutes. If the sugar starts to brown too quickly, reduce the heat.
  8. Flip the scallops over and cook for 1 minute more.
  9. Add the white wine and lemon juice to the pan and reduce by half, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  10. Transfer the scallops to a platter or serving dishes.
  11. Pour the pan juices over the top and garnish with chopped parsley, chives and lemon zest.
  12. Serve immediately.
To make clarified butter: 1. Melt the Butter - Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium-low heat. Once all the butter has melted, you want the butter at a very low and gentle simmer. Adjust the heat as needed. 2. Skim the Foam - Continue simmering the butter over low heat. Skim the foam as it rises to the surface. Solid particles will also start dropping to the bottom of the pan; these can be strained out later. Don't worry about skimming every last bit of foam; the remaining foam can be strained out later. 3. Strain and Store - Place the strainer over the heat-proof bowl and line it with the cheesecloth or filter. When no more foam forms on the surface, remove the butter from heat and pour it through the strainer, leaving the solids in the bottom of the pan. Once the butter has cooled a bit, pour it into a jar and store in the fridge for up to three months or freeze for up to six months.


3 Responses to “Caramelized Scallops in a Lemon Wine Sauce”

  • KarenB says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. I have had rubber scallops before. Ate em anyway. Here in California they’re anywhere from 18 to 24 bucks a POUND! so they’re made for special dinners.

    Oh, I looovvvve wine! I hope we can go to a wine tasting sometime. Lol.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      OMGosh that’s so expensive! Yeah that’s totally a special meal for me then at that much. Trust me, I’ve had my share of ‘rubber’ scallops. They are one food item that you have to watch while you cook. Mr. Fantabulous LOOOOOOOOOOVES these. The sauce is silky and adds such a great balance of flavor to the scallops. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the recipe!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

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