November has been a crazy month and it’s not even here yet! I just returned yesterday from LA and Nashville, next week I’ll be on assignment in Morocco and a week after that I’m in both Iowa and somewhere else (I’m shooting something secret but haven’t been informed yet as to where said shooting is actually taking place, hopefully somewhere warm). So, with all of this craziness in mind, I decided I’d better get my Thanksgiving menu planned now.
I’m switching things up just a bit this year. Of course, I’m making some of my Thanksgiving table staples: roasted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes and carrot soufflé. But I also want to add something with a bit of a twist this year instead of always the same ol’ thing. I stopped in at Whole Foods and picked up some of their sea scallops. They are HUGE scallops, just gorgeous. I’m very particular about my scallops – I only purchase “dry” scallops (this means they are pure – no water or phosphates are added which means the taste and texture are much better) and Whole Foods is one of very few places around to get them. The sauce I made to go with them is a simple pan sauce that only takes a few minutes to throw together once you’ve seared the scallops – simple, easy and elegant, a nice twist for Thanksgiving yet with some familiar flavors, too.
Some tips about this recipe:
- Don’t add your scallops until your pan is very hot. You want a good sear on them and you won’t get that unless your pan is very hot.
- Make sure scallops are patted dry before adding to hot skillet. Moisture will prevent a good sear.
- Don’t crowd your pan; if necessary, sear the scallops in two batches.
- Have all ingredients measured and ready to go as this recipe cooks quickly.
- If sauce gets too thick, add a tablespoon of water until it reaches desired consistency (or more, if necessary).
- You can also put the sauce over salmon or your Thanksgiving turkey (Whole Foods sells organic, free range and heritage turkeys).
- Make sure butter is cold when adding at the end to finish the sauce.
Sea Scallops with Cranberry-Balsamic Pan Sauce
• 1 pound sea scallops, patted dry with paper towel (from Whole Foods)
• 2 T olive oil, divided
• 1 small shallot, finely diced
• ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
• 1 sprig fresh thyme
• ½ cup chicken broth or stock
• ½ cup Whole Foods organic whole berry cranberry sauce
• 1 T cold butter
• Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 T oil and, when shimmering, add scallops carefully to pan. Don’t touch scallops, cook for 1 – 2 minutes until brown crust is formed, then flip and do the same to other side. Remove scallops from pan and set aside.
• Add remaining 1 T oil to pan. Add shallots and cook for one minute. Add balsamic vinegar and cook until reduced by half. Add thyme sprig, chicken broth and cranberry sauce; cook until sauce is thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
• Remove thyme sprig and stir in cold butter.
• Spoon sauce onto serving plates and serve with scallops on top of sauce. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.