Friday, March 25, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: Seared Scallops with Caramel-Blood Orange Sauce


I'm living an exciting life in Paris...

Living vicariously, that is, through Dorie Greenspan's little snippets introducing each recipe in Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. But Dorie's not a name-dropper. The chefs she mentions are probably some of her closest friends. If I close my eyes, I can see her in the kitchens of L'Arpège and Market, chatting it up with chefs Alain Passard and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, as she sips Krug Champagne and indulges in an innovative hot-cold egg, (a surprising mixture of egg, cream, sherry vinegar, and maple syrup, all served in the shell), or foie gras crème brûlée.

These are the two chefs, and their sweet-savory creations, that inspired Dorie to create Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce, this week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe.

Alain Passard is the French chef and owner of L'Arpège in Paris, a three Michelin star restaurant. He plays the saxophone, released a recipe book written especially for children, partners in a company that produces mustard using a 16th century recipe, and collaborated with silversmiths Christofle on the design of a flatware collection specially designed for eating vegetables, modeled after pitchforks and scythes. Vegetables are an important part of L’Arpège and all their vegetables are grown on their two hectare all organic farm in the French countryside. I'd love to have a few pieces of this flatware to add to my prop collection...

Christofle Arpège flatware

Jean-Georges Vongerichten was born in France, but now resides in the United States, where he reins over his vast empire of restaurants in Las Vegas, London, Paris and Shanghai, as well as New York's Jean Georges restaurant. He is the author of four cookbooks, including James Beard-awarding winning Jean-Georges: Cooking At Home with a Four-Star Chef, co-authored with Mark Bittman.

Although I was tempted to wow you, and myself, with the hot-cold egg and foie gras crème brûlée this week, I took it easy and was happy to prepare scallops for two. They're lightly seasoned with salt and white pepper, seared in olive oil, and drizzled with a spoonful of caramel orange sauce over the top. Before searing the scallops, which only takes minutes, you prepare the caramel orange sauce, also within minutes. It is similar to gastrique, essentially a sweet-sour sauce made from caramelized sugar and vinegar. Here, the caramel orange sauce is made by caramelizing some sugar in a small saucepan, and then adding white wine in place of the vinegar used in a gastrique. Freshly squeezed orange juice is also added, and the sauce is reduced to a syrupy consistency. That's it. Perfectly seared scallops, drizzled with a sweet, citrusy orange sauce. I added an additional step of a quick 10-minute brine of the scallops, the treatment for Thomas Keller's Caramelized Sea Scallops in Ad Hoc at Home. I also decided to use blood oranges for the juice in the sauce, and fried a few shallots for garnish. While I prepared the scallops, John made our favorite Roasted Beet and Orange Salad.

Beautiful, fresh, sea scallops from Whole Foods (about 7 in a 1/2 lb.) 

Keller's 10-minute scallop brine

A quick sear in a hot pan
(And yes, I missed that tendon on the front scallop,
and realize I would instantly be chopped on Chopped,
or berated by Gordon Ramsey in Hell's Kitchen)

These scallops would make a nice amuse bouche on their own 

But we enjoyed them with our favorite salad

John said I could quote him, "I don't know what it is about this salad,
but I can't get it into my mouth fast enough."

I would have to agree, the salad upstaged the scallops. If you want the scallops to be the star, as they deserve to be, serve them as a hors d'œuvre or with steamed asparagus or green beans on the side.

French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group dedicated to Dorie Greenspan‘s newest book, Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As members of the group, we have purchased the cookbook and cook along as much as we can. There is a new recipe each week, and we post about that recipe on Friday. We are asked to refrain from posting the actual recipes on our blog. Dorie always tells a personal story behind each recipe, which makes it that much more intriguing.


22 comments:

Cher said...

I love the amuse bouche idea for the scallops. And that salad does look like it would be a star in its own right! Very nice.

yummychunklet said...

Absolutely fantastic post! From the story to the food, excellent!

SoupAddict Karen said...

They look beautiful with that salad - a lovely Spring dish!

Jen @ My Morning Chocolate said...

I bet the scallops would be delicious served on the salad. Also, I never knew there was vegetable flatware! Those curved pieces would be a great conversation starter at a dinner party.

Steph said...

Amazing photos that really bring your food to life! Nice work!!

bakingisapieceofcake said...

Your plating is gorgeous and I absolutely love the scallop dish!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

I love that you added them to a salad and think it looks beautiful! Wonderful post!

DessertByCandy said...

Your photos are absolutely beautiful. I love the colour and lighting.And of course the scallops look very appetizing too. :)

Adriana said...

I love how all the different colors pop out in your salad! Your caramel sauce also has a wonderful color to it.

Betsy said...

I love the scallops in the little scallop shells. How beautiful. I also loved your story about the silverware inspired by farming implements. Great post!

lifeisfull said...

Your cast iron pan produced a beautiful sear and I love the colour of your sauce. Beautiful pictures!

tricia s. said...

Oh my. Your posts are amazing. First off, I truly enjoy all the background that you provide us. Interesting and relative details that appeal to all of us trying to find a little piece of Paris in their own kitchen each week. But your photos- unbelieveable !!! I literally called my husband over to see them. I was like "blood oranges !" He made me look up what you put on top of the scallops :) We will be trying this salad- thanks for sharing.

Mei Teng said...

I love scallops. Lovely photos.

Sis. Boom. said...

Stunning! I wanted to do these on a salad too but couldn't figure it out. You have saved me lots of time! Love the scallops on scallops too!

onewetfoot said...

Lovely presentation! Those dishes are beautiful. The blood oranges give the sauce a great hue, too.

bunkycooks said...

Love the photos. Very nice. The colors of these two dishes together are so vibrant and look just like Spring. I want to dine at your restaurant when we come your way!

Anne Marie said...

Beautiful in a salad! I'm so happy for your Newf, getting a new yard and a TREE!

chefpandita.com said...

That salad looks great! I served mine with quinoa and decided not to make the spiced carrots Dorie suggests in her book since I wanted the caramel orange sauce to be the star.

Sara said...

Oooooh, these look fantastic! I love the sear you got on those scallops and it sounds great to use blood orange in the sauce!

foodies at home said...

These are stunning scallops! Perfectly browned!

SandraDee said...

The recipes look wonderful and the pics are fantastic...but, I have to say it absolutely drives me nuts that the "dorie participants" do not post the recipes. It totally goes against everything foodgawker is about, learning and sharing new recipes. It is a blatant promotion for Dorie's cookbooks and in my humble opinion, unacceptable. She's not reinventing the wheel here, it's just a recipe that people put their own spin on. I think foodgawker should not allow this to happen. Other than the "dorie days" I like your website.

Denise said...

SandraDee - I tend to agree with you, mostly because so many of the recipes from the cookbook are already posted out there by other bloggers. When I can, and when I do make adaptations, I usually post my "adapted" recipe.