For Valentine’s Day dinner 2011 I made Vanilla Dusted Sea Scallops with Rosemary Roasted Red Potatoes and Grilled Zucchini Ribbons.
The original recipe for the Vanilla Dusted Sea Scallops came from Seafood for the Future. I’ve adapted it a little here.
The sweet vanilla works so well with the richness of the fresh sea scallop; it developed a sweet crust on the top of the scallop, which added to the complexity of the dish. It was almost like eating dessert. I really think this was a great way to present the scallop. Definitely a keeper.
I used Red D’anjou Pears for this. I thought the red pears would add a bit of Valentine’s Day red to the dish. The pears were sweet and moist and went very well with the scallop. Sometimes I think some preparation methods overpower the delicate scallop, but not this one. The flavors in the dish were very well suited for each other. I’m often at a loss for what to serve with scallops because I don’t want to overpower them, so this vanilla-pear combination gives me another option.
I chose to make red potatoes, again in keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme of red. I cut the small red potatoes in half and tossed them with a teaspoon of pure olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a few fresh rosemary leaves. These were placed in a pan and into a 325° oven for about 50 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
For the zucchini ribbons, slice the yellow or green zucchini lengthwise. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place on an oiled grill pan over high heat. Grill until char marks develop, about 5 minutes. Flip and continue to grill the other side for about 3 minutes.
A pretty simple yet impressive Valentine’s Day dinner that my wonderful husband and I loved.
*Cook’s Notes: My grocery store doesn’t carry anything as cool as vanilla powder. But, you may be able to find it at more upscale stores or at a place like Mother’s Market. King Arthur Flour carries it, and they have tons for really cool things.
If I were to make this combination again, I would plate the zucchini ribbons, sprinkle the sautéed pears around the plate, then place the scallops directly on top of the zucchini. The red potatoes would go either sprinkled around the plate, or slightly to the side of the scallops, but on top of the zucchini. Well, my plating may have been off, but the taste of the dish was simply divine. Thanks Seafood for the Future!
Vanilla Dusted Sea Scallops with Rosemary Roasted Red Potatoes and Grilled Zucchini Ribbons Recipe
Vanilla Dusted Sea Scallops
- 8 large sea scallops
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or oil of your choice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla powder*
- 2 large pears diced
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Salt and pepper both sides of the scallop.
- Add oil to a non-stick skillet and place over medium-high heat. Be sure your pan heats up long enough to bring the oil to a shimmer, the point right before it begins to smoke. Right as the oil is a bout to smoke, place the scallops in the pan and cook about 1-3 minutes on each side making sure to allow a crust to form on the outside. Do not overcrowd the pan because this will create steam, and alter the browning process.
- Dust the tops of the scallops with the vanilla powder and continue cooking for about 10 seconds. Remove the scallops from the pan and place on a plate. Gently cover the scallops with a paper towel to keep them warm.
- Place the pan back over medium heat and add the diced pears. Sauté the pears for 2 minutes and place the scallops back into the pan with the pears. Deglaze the scallop-pear mixture with the broth for about 2 minutes, and remove the pan from the heat.