If you’re feeling down about the socially distanced holidays this year, treat yourself to a gourmet meal you can cook at home: Ghee Pan Seared Scallops With Lemon Caper Sauce
Like so many across the country, we’ve been feeling a bit down about spending this holiday season isolated and distanced from the ones we love. We normally look forward to the big fancy meals we share with our friends and family. But while COVID has stood in the way of our family gatherings and dinner parties, we won’t let it stop us from making decadent meals for ourselves. And we decided to try our hand at one dish that we would usually only eat if we were in a restaurant because it has always seemed so intimidating to make: pan seared scallops with lemon caper sauce—and since we love ghee so much—with ghee!
It’s easier than you think
Rubbery scallops: The result of poorly cooked scallops and the thing that stands in the way of the many who are reluctant to attempt cooking them. But luckily, that are some tried and true tricks out there that will lead you to delicious and perfectly prepared pan seared scallops with lemon caper sauce.
First and foremost, to avoid a rubbery outcome, it is crucial to cook the scallops hot and fast. Cooking scallops for too long will always result in the dreaded rubberiness.
The other tip is to prepare a brine for the scallops. Brining scallops in a salt solution helps to season them more deeply, not just on the surface. It also helps to insulate the scallops, which are a super lean protein, so that they retain moisture and not dry out in the pan.
With these tips in your pocket, you’re now ready to make pan seared scallops with lemon caper sauce for yourself!
The Recipe—Pan Seared Scallops With Lemon Caper Sauce and Ghee
|1/3 cup kosher salt
|1 cup organic chicken broth
|1 cup hot water
|1 tsp lemon zest
|4 cups ice water
|2 Tbsp lemon juice, approximately 1 lemon will do both zest and juice
|1 pound large scallops
|2 Tbsp capers
|3 Tbsp avocado oil
|1 Tbsp dijon mustard
|1 Tbsp ghee
|1 Tbsp chopped dill, optional for garnish
|1 Tbsp garlic, minced
|1 tsp chopped chives, optional for garnish
|1/2 cup white wine, optional
|lemon wedges, optional for garnish
Prepare the scallops in the brine. Combine kosher salt into hot water, stir until it is dissolved. Add ice water to cool the water down. Place scallops in the brine and allow them to sit for about ten minutes. Drain the scallops, rinse, and then place them on a platter covered with a few paper towels. With another paper towel or two, cover the top of the scallops and pat them dry as best you can. Set the scallops aside.
Mince the garlic, zest and juice the lemon, chop the fresh herbs if you are using them, and set all of these aside. Measure out the remainder of the ingredients, have them handy and ready to add to the pan.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the avocado oil to medium-high. Remember, it is important to cook these hot and fast! Sprinkle scallops lightly with salt on both sides. Place the scallops into the pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the ghee to the pan and flip the scallops carefully, baste with the ghee while they cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove scallops to a plate with a paper towel and set aside.
Using the same pan, turn heat down to medium and add the garlic, cook for one minute. Add the wine and stir until it is reduced to about half, 3-5 minutes. Increase the heat back to medium-high and add the chicken stock, lemon juice, zest, and capers. Simmer until reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in the dijon mustard.
Return scallops to the pan and warm on low heat for a couple of minutes. To serve, garnish with dill, chives, and a fresh lemon wedge on the side if you like.