Monday, June 25, 2018

Scallops in a Lemon Caper Sauce

To brine or not to brine, that is the question. In this recipe you are instructed to soak the scallops in a saltwater solution for about 10 minutes. The recipe critic said the benefits of a brine are it delicately seasons the seafood, helps it retain moisture and prevents the scallops from becoming too tough as it cooks.

I guess you can buy “wet” scallops and “dry” scallops. Wet scallops are packed in additives while the dry ones are not. Brining wet scallops will get rid of the additives and extra water they come with. Dry scallops do not need to brined.

Many criticized saying this would make the scallops too salty. Especially since they are in a sauce with capers. One person suggested soaking them in milk over night then rinsing them the next day, as an alternative to saltwater.

And why put them in the skillet with the sauce after they’ve been cooked? Why risk overcooking them as they may become rubbery. I’d maybe drizzle some over the scallops on my plate. What do you think?

The second step to cooking perfect scallops, after brining of course, is to dry them between two paper towels until you do not see any moisture and they are slightly sticky when touched.

The go to pan when cooking scallops is the cast iron skillet. And a very hot one so the scallops can sear quickly. Remember DO NOT flip them until they are ready. You might want to baste them with butter at the end of their cooking to promote even more browning and flavor. Serves 4


1/3 cup kosher salt plus more for seasoning
1 cup hot water
4 cups ice water
1 lb large scallops (14-16), 1 1/2” wide
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup unsalted chicken broth
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dill, chopped
1 teaspoon chives, chopped
6 lemon wedges
Pepper, to taste


In a medium bowl add the salt and hot water to dissolve the salt then add the ice water to cook the brine. Add the scallops and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse them under cold water then place them in a single layer onto a paper towel lined baking sheet. Place another paper towel on top and gently pat the scallops. Remove as much moisture for best browning results when cooked.

Allow scallops to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before cooking. In a 12” cast iron skillet heat the olive oil over med/high heat until the oil begins to smoke. Lightly salt your scallops and place them into the skillet. Gently press scallops with a spatula to make direct contact with the skillet.
Sear 3-3 1/2 minutes without flipping and butter and cook on the other side basting while cooking 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet reduce heat to medium add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Turn heat up to high and add the broth, zest, juice and capers to the pan. Cook until the broth is reduced by half, 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in the mustard. Now you can turn the heat on medium and add the scallops back into the pan and reheat them for 2 minutes. Or you can put your scallops on plates drizzle the sauce over, season with salt and pepper (if needed) and garnish with the dill, chives and lemon wedges. Yum Yum!

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