Scallops in Caramel-orange Sauce {FFwD}

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe looks and sounds like just the sort of haute cuisine you’d expect in a French cookbook. But in fact it’s surprisingly simple and straightforward.

Like the semolina cake, this recipe starts with a simple caramel syrup. And like the cake, you have to be really careful not to burn the sugar when making the caramel sauce.

Two tablespoons of sugar isn’t a lot, and once it starts to liquefy, it can quickly go from melted to burnt. So I had my wine and orange standing by, and added them as soon as the sugar was melted and well-colored. I cooked the mixture down until it was a deep amber and had reduced by about half.

I set the caramel sauce aside while I made the scallops. This part of the recipe surprised me. I rarely cook seafood at home, and I always think that it is an involved process. In this case, the scallops couldn’t have been quicker or easier. After heating olive oil in a pan, I added the scallops, seasoned them with salt and white pepper, and cooked them for two minutes on each side.

I plated the scallops with the warm caramel sauce and some peas for a simple, yet elegant dinner.

This was another wonderful dish from Around My French Table. It wasn’t as sweet as I expected, and unlike Dorie, I found the scallops — rather than the caramel — to be the star. I probably wouldn’t have chosen this recipe on my own, but I’m glad I tried it. I’m not sure I’ll make it again, but if nothing else, it reminded me of how easy and delicious scallops can be.

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29 Comments

  1. sara said,

    March 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Looks delicious! I agree, I thought the recipe would be sweeter than it turned out to be – it was really good! 🙂

  2. Yuri said,

    March 28, 2011 at 1:29 am

    I thought this recipe was easy and elegant. Definitely making it again 🙂

  3. March 27, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I’ve seen a ton of these now and I’m not sure I’m quite convinced about the caramel with them. They all LOOK fantastic though, esp yours! Thanks for sharing.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 27, 2011 at 11:45 am

      Thanks. It was worth making once, but I’m not sure it’s a repeat for me. The scallops were amazing, though.

  4. Teresa said,

    March 27, 2011 at 1:11 am

    I think we all learned a lot about caramel with the semolina cake – a smart choice for the first month of this group. I liked the fact that the sauce allowed the scallops to take centre stage – I love scallops so much and am disappointed when they’re overshadowed by other flavours.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 27, 2011 at 11:44 am

      The best part of this dish for me was learning how easy it is to make perfectly seared scallops at home.

  5. Tricia S. said,

    March 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    What a gorgeous plate of food ! Your scallops turned out beautiful. We loved the whole recipe and process in our house too…and I had been very hesitant to even try this one. Nana was not a fan but next time I will serve them to her as well – she is already curious and we are scallops converts !

    • gaaarp said,

      March 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

      Thanks. This was certainly a restaurant-qualtiy dish, both in appearance and taste.

  6. betsy said,

    March 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I love the contrast between your scallops and the very green peas. I served mine with butternut squash, which wasn’t as nice a contrast. I completely agree with you that the scallops were the star of this recipe. Unlike most of the other FFwD-ers this week, I wasn’t crazy about the sauce. It was easy enough to make, but the taste fell flat for me. But… now that I know how to sear scallops, I’ll be doing that again. Nice job!

    • gaaarp said,

      March 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      Thanks. I’m with you on that. Definitely will be making seared scallops whenever they’re on sale at the fish counter, but not with this sauce.

  7. Liz said,

    March 26, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Beautiful photos…I think all of us served these with something green 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      March 26, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      It was a natural combination, I think.

  8. Kathy said,

    March 26, 2011 at 7:51 am

    This was a wonderful dish! So glad you enjoyed it. Your scallops look beautiful, great photo!

    • gaaarp said,

      March 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Thanks. It was really yummy!

  9. Adriana said,

    March 25, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I almost burned my sugar – saved it just in time! I love scallops, and making this recipe reminded me how easy they are to prepare and enjoy.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 25, 2011 at 7:18 pm

      Making caramel with such a small amount of sugar is tricky. I learned that the hard way when I made the semolina cake.

  10. ComeUndone said,

    March 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    The peas and scallops make me think of spring. Great dish for the transition of season!

    • gaaarp said,

      March 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm

      It was a very spring-like dish. Hopefully we’ll have more of those coming up!

  11. slongcoat said,

    March 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Beautiful! Your dish looks really nice on that pretty plate.

  12. Renee said,

    March 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Agreed. It was a good recipe but probably not one I’d go out of my way to make again.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      I might not make it again, but I will certainly cook scallops at home more often.

  13. Kayte said,

    March 25, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Wow wow wow this looks absolutely fabulous! The colors are wonderful and those peas were just the perfect choice, weren’t they??? Can I have this instead of the fish pie when I come…they are both from the sea, right? This looks elegant and very special. Making it tonight as it’s Friday in Lent and scallops seem like a fine fishy sort of thing to make…although maybe to celebratory for Lent maybe…hmmmm.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      Thanks, they were really delicious. I’ll make this for you if you finish all your fish pie.

  14. Heather said,

    March 25, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Ahhhh…so here’s the caramel scallops you referred to. They look delicious! Restaurant quality. Seared scallops are one of my favorite things but I would have never thought to pair them with caramel. This sounds wonderful. The more I read, the more I’m thinking I may have to break down and buy that book.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      Having made about 30 recipes from the book, I can tell you it’s well worth the investment!

  15. Cher said,

    March 25, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I loved how simple this was. The scallops truly shone through with this treatment. (But the sauce was also lovely with chicken.) I had forgotten about the semolina cake – now I have a craving…

    • gaaarp said,

      March 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      What a great idea! I should try the sauce with other proteins.

      • Cher said,

        March 25, 2011 at 9:01 pm

        Oh, and go for the KA Pasta attachment. You won’t regret it… Homemade raviolo, pasta any flavor you want it, you get to control the ingredients. Once you get the knack of it, fresh pasta is really simple to work into your meal plan.


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