Mapping Out Dinner: Scallops with Saffron Broth and Sautéed Fennel

/

Seared Scallops with Sautéed Fennel in Saffron Broth

I’m rather proud of these Seared Sea Scallops with Saffron Broth and Sautéed Fennel but I really can’t take all the credit. My partner Ken had a lot to do with the flavors you see on this plate. He returned from a recent wine media tasting event excited about the wines of New Zealand. One particular winery defied all his notions about the land next door to the land down under. The explosive flavors of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc are well-known, but Greywacke is creating wines with a complexity he had not expected. Especially the 2015 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon. He immediately got on the phone and bought a bottle, then asked me to pair this wine with dinner – tonight.

I enjoy cooking, but a short-order cook I am not!

Fortunately, I had already had a lead on some well-priced scallops. Their clean flavor plays nicely against the luxury of crisp wine. Searing the scallops until caramelized at the edges brings out a sweetness that can soften the sharp finish often found in sauvignon blanc. So I figured I had a plan that got me halfway there.

But what about the rest of the way? Would I need a map?

Wine Pairing

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2015

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, generally speaking, is a grassy, citrusy, mouth-quenching warm weather quaff. I say “generally” because I was recently introduced to alternative styles of NZSB at a seminar featuring renowned winemaker Kevin Judd. Mr. Judd, a pioneering winemaker at Cloudy Bay now heads his own label, Greywacke (pronounced grey-wacky). His Greywacke Wild Sauvignon […]
Ken Eskenazi

Price $22

Pairs well with seafood, fish, oysters, goat cheese, asparagus, artichoke

Usually, when we match food and wine we ask ourselves the question, “what wine would go best with these Scallops with Saffron Broth?”

In fact, it’s questions like these that justify Ken’s rather deep home wine collection. It’s the same reason restaurants maintain long and varied wine lists.

However, in the case of these scallops, Ken had the wine in mind and I had to build the recipe to match the wine. Which seems like a daunting challenge. After all, pairing food and wine is very mysterious, right? But in truth, we make choices of what we want to eat and drink all the time. So why do we give wine so much baggage? The simple trick is to make simple variations, with the wine in mind, to whatever recipe you’ve already chosen.

Sauvignon blanc is an aromatic white wine. It’s an easy choice for food that screams for white wine. Scallops (almost always) scream for white wine. So (as I said) I had a place to start.

However, I was a little thrown by a comment to Ken from the Greywacke winemaker Kevin Judd that the Greywacke Wild Sauvignon would work nicely with seafood in a red wine sauce. While I wasn’t quite ready to slather my delicate scallops in red wine sauce this hint did convince me to go bold.

Scallops with Saffron Broth

I may not be a wine guy in quite the way my guy Ken is. But I do know that you can’t go wrong when it comes to wine if you let your nose be the boss. The Greywacke Wild Sauvignon has a nose that includes what wine geeks call anise. That’s fennel to us food geeks. So fennel was where I started. But another whiff revealed a dried floral hint of saffron. Saffron is always best when it’s just a hint. So that’s how I got to Scallops with Saffron Broth and Sautéed Fennel.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with drinking whatever you like with whatever you’re eating. Because if you follow your own tastes you will intuitively feel that the wine and food were made for each other. And that’s precisely the map I followed here. GREG

GreywackeSauteed Fennel Saffron BrothSeared Scallops with Sautéed Fennel in Saffron Broth

Seared Scallops with Sautéed Fennel in Saffron Broth

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Published

The proper term for an STP and additive free scallop is “dry”. Ask your fishmonger if you are unsure.

Seared Scallops with Sautéed Fennel in Saffron Broth

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 peeled and chopped onion
  • 3 thinly sliced leeks (white and light green parts only, well washed and divided in half)
  • 1 peeled and chopped carrot
  • 2 cored and thinly sliced fennel bulb (divided in half)
  • ¼ teaspoon safron threads
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel pollen (can substitute ground fennel seeds)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cup fish stock (or clam juice)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sea salt
  • white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4-8 jumbo "dry" sea scallops (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod
  • ½ cup fennel-orange gremolata (optional, see recipe)

Directions

Make the broth: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, half the leeks, carrot, and half the fennel and cook, stirring often, until translucent. Add the saffron, fennel pollen, crushed red pepper flakes, and white wine. Continue cooking until the wine has almost evaporated. Add stock and bring to a simmer.

Add bay leaf and a pinch each salt and white pepper. Reduce the heat and let the broth simmer slowly for 30 minutes. Adjust the seasoning, then strain the broth. Keep warm or set aside to bring back to a simmer before serving.

Make the sautéed fennel: Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat; add remaining fennel and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add remaining leeks, season with salt and pepper, cook 5 minutes more. Stir in butter and lemon zest, adjust seasoning. Keep warm or set aside to bring back to warm before serving.

Sear the scallops: Season the scallops generously with salt and white pepper. Place a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer add the scallops and sear for 2 ½ minutes, without moving them around. When the bottoms of the scallops look nicely browned and they release themselves from the pan turn them over and sear the other side for 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Using tongs, carefully transfer the scallops to a platter lined with paper towels to blot some of the oil.

To serve: Finish the warm broth by stirring in Pernod. Place a quarter of the warm sautéed fennel in the center of each of 4 warm shallow soup bowls. Place 1 or 2 seared scallops on top of each then pour in the broth, dividing it equally between each serving. Garnish with gremolata (if using) and serve immediately.

Fennel-Orange Gremolata

Print This Recipe Total time Yield ½ cupSource Chef Steven SatterfieldPublished

The gremolata can be refrigerated for up to 3 hours.

Fennel-Orange Gremolata

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh fennel fronds
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt (to taste)

Directions

Mix fennel, parsley, and orange zest in a small bowl. Stir in olive oil and season to taste with salt.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save