Seared Scallops with Garlic Chili Butter
Many special occasion meals fall into that category because of their inherent complexity. Lots of steps, specialty ingredients or both may be involved. One of my ultimate meals for a special occasion is seared scallops with a simple butter sauce. It looks and tastes like it is involved and time consuming, but it truly could not be easier or faster.
Scallops take only a few minutes to cook. Any more and they will be overdone and chewy. This particular rendition includes a butter sauce that is both a little sweet and slightly spicy – so simple, and so very good. Served with some wilted spinach or roasted broccoli and your favorite starchy side (perhaps a rice pilaf or au gratin potatoes), you have a meal that will be sure to impress. If you are still looking for a last minute Valentine’s Day idea that won’t take a ton of time or ingredients, this is the answer.
Yield: 3-4 servings
- 1½ lbs. sea scallops
- Salt and pepper
- 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1½ tbsp. sweet chile sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. clarified butter*
- ¼ cup white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
Pat the scallops dry on both sides with paper towels. Season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the room temperature butter, chile sauce and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Mixed together until evenly blended. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet on medium-high for 2 minutes. Add the clarified butter and swirl to coat the pan. Add the scallops to the pan in a single layer and let cook without flipping or stirring for 2 minutes. Flip the scallops over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, just until cooked through. Remove the scallops to a plate.
Add the wine to the now empty pan to deglaze any browned bits from the bottom. Reduce the heat to medium-low. When the wine has mostly bubbled off, add in the chili butter mixture. Stir just until melted. Serve the scallops warm with a bit of the butter sauce drizzled over the top.
*To make clarified butter, let butter melt slowly in a small saucepan. Once the milk solids have separated from the butter, carefully skim the solids from the top and discard. The remaining liquid butter is what you will use.