Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique

Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique
Recipe courtesy of Alex Thomopoulos that serves four.


  • 2 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 20 scallops, side muscle removed
  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced thin on diagonal
  • 6 blood oranges (3 for juicing and 3 for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves

Ingredients for Cauliflower Puree

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons brown butter (take regular butter and put in sautee pan, cook until butter turns brown and smells toasty and nutty)
  • 1 tsp caper juice

Ingredients for the Blood Orange Gastrique

  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup blood orange juice
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock

1. Start by making the gastrique. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat add the sugar and cook until it starts to melt. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then continue to cook without stirring until the sugar is a deep golden color; about 2 minutes.

2. Gradually add the vinegar, and stir for about a minute until the caramel melts. Then add the orange juice; boil until the mixture begins to thicken.

3. Then add stock and boil until the gastrique has reduced down to about 1/4 of a cup and it coats the back of a spoon. This should take about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, place a lid on the pan and set aside.

4. Next start on the cauliflower puree. In a medium pot bring about 3 inches of water to a boil. Add a good pinch of salt. Cut cauliflower into small pieces and drop into the water. Place a lid on top of the pan and steam for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. When it’s fork tender, drain and place into a blender with about 2-3 tablespoons of cooking liquid. Turn the machine on and slowly drizzle in the brown butter, caper juice and a good pinch of kosher salt. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside and keep warm.

5. While the cauliflower is cooking, cook the asparagus. In a small sauté pan melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper and sautee the asparagus for 3-4 minutes. Set aside, cover to keep warm.

6. With the remaining blood oranges, cut 1/2 inch from the top and bottom of each orange. Working carefully, cut away all of the peel and pith from the fruit. You will see thin white membranes in between each slice. Insert your knife as close as possible and make a slice parallel to it, right to the center of the orange. repeat on the other side. You will be left with a tender little segment of orange. Repeat and add the segments into a bowl. Toss with the parsley and set aside.

7. Finally! The scallops, right before service remove scallops from fridge. Pat them dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.

8. In a large sauté pan over high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add scallops and sear until golden brown. I like to cook them about 1 1/2 minutes on one side and 30 seconds -1 minute on the other, pending on the size. I like mine to be rare to medium rare. Be careful not to over cook these little rascals. They turn into erasers if they are cooked too long!

9. To plate, place the warm cauliflower puree across a round plate. Sprinkle the cooked asparagus on top. Then place 5 scallops on top of that, arranging them in a rustic zig zag pattern. Tuck pieces of the orange segments and parsley in between the scallops. Drizzle warm gastrique on top and serve.

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