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Scallops with lemon, tarragon and saffron dressing
A simple dish that will even impress a celebrity chef
I found this recipe in a German gourmet magazine years ago and it has become one of my signature dishes. The ingredients are not cheap but this simple meal can be prepared in minutes and is bound to impress any foodie.
- 1 pound Scallops
- 1/2 Tsp. Salt
- 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil, for frying
- 1/2 Lemon, zest & juice
- 2 Tbsp. Vegetable stock
- 1 sachet (125 mg) Saffron, powdered
- 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil, for the marinade
- 2 Tbsp. Fresh Tarragon, chopped
- Pepper & salt, to taste
- A few Tarragon twigs, for garnish
The secret to searing scallops
To get a golden crust first pat the scallops with paper towel to dry them. Then place them in a hot pan over medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil and leave them there - without touching or turning them - for approx. 2 - 3 minutes. That's what creates that perfect crust. It's also important to not crowd your pan - otherwise the scallops steam instead of sear.
- Make a marinade of the following: Lemon juice & zest, vegetable stock, saffron, salt & pepper and olive oil (do not add the tarragon yet). Mix well and set aside.
- Pat the scallops dry and season with salt.
- Sear scallops for 2-3 minutes per side (make sure you don't crowd the pan).
- Add chopped tarragon to the marinade and pour over seared scallops. Serve immediately.
- Garnish with tarragon twigs.
- Serve with quinoa or rice.
Add the marinade to the pan
Leftovers can be refrigerated and eaten cold on a fancy salad platter.
For a cheaper version: Scallops can be substituted with haddock, cod cheeks or chicken breast (cooking times must be adjusted accordingly).
Saffron is the world's most expensive spice so you might be shocked about it's price. However only a tiny quantity is required for this recipe (1 packet usually contains several sachets). If you can't find powdered saffron use saffron strings instead.
Tarragon freezes well. As this recipe only requires a few twigs any leftovers should be frozen for further use.