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Scallops with Blood Orange Caramel

Scallops with Blood Orange Caramel

adapted liberally from Epicurious.com [5]

Yield: 4 servings

Blood orange gastrique:
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 6 oranges; I used blood and Cara Cara oranges)
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

3 tablespoons safflower oil
4 stems Swiss Chard, thick stems removed, chopped and reserved
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
12 sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry, muscle removed (figure 3 scallops per person)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 blood orange, supremed*

Prepare the blood orange gastrique:
In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, heat the honey until it begins to foam. Continue cooking until the honey begins to darken a shade from its natural state. (Gently swirl the pan until you can see the honey beneath the bubbles. Try not to stir or agitate the liquid at this point: swirling, good; stirring or whisking, not so much.) Add the vinegar all at once. The honey will harden – that’s okay. Continue cooking until the mixture melts, stirring frequently. Add orange juice; boil until mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add broth; boil until gastrique coats spoon and is reduced to generous 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. Season with cardamom. Remove from heat to cool while you prepare the scallops.

Prepare the scallops and Swiss chard:
Blanche the chard leaves (dunk briefly in boiling water than plunge into an ice bath; pat dry), then chop into medium sized pieces. Divide leaves evenly across 4 salad plates. Sprinkle tarragon leaves over the chard

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the reserved chard stems to the pan and sautee for 1-2 minutes. Remove to bowl and set aside.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and increase heat to medium-high. Season scallops with salt and pepper. When pan and oil is scorching hot (test by dropping a single droplet of water into the pan: it should sizzle and evaporate in seconds), add scallops to pan. Cook on one side without disturbing until seared brown and the center begins to turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Flip the scallops to sear the other side, about 2 minutes. (Depending on the size of the pan, you may need to do this in batches. If so, use additional oil if the pan becomes dry.)

Arranged cooked scallops over chard leaves. Divide blood orange slices among the plates as garnish. Drizzle the blood orange gastrique over salad, then sprinkle the sauteed chard stems over the top. Serve immediately.

*To supreme an orange (or any segmented citrus fruit): Remove a thin slice from the top and bottom of the fruit, just enough to expose the pulp. Set the fruit one of the sliced ends. Using a small paring knife, slice away the peel from top to bottom, angling the knife as you slice downward to follow the curve of the fruit. Remove the individual segments by slicing into the fruit, towards the center, along the white membrane walls. If the fruit is seeded, they can easily be removed at this point.