THE WASHINGTON POST – Citrus is one sunny bright spot I bask in every winter. Each juicy segment of the fruit carries brilliant, warm rays of light to my kitchen, a stark contrast from the otherwise drab, chilly backdrop of the season.
I escape into the vast variety of it, from pomelos to satsumas, easy-peeling my way to vitamin C-packed snacks, segmenting it onto salads and simmering it into stews and sauces. In this dish, citrus juice and segments come together in with sautéed shallots to form a stunning, slurpy, sweet-tart sauce that is poured over seared scallops.
The recipe calls for a red grapefruit and a large orange, but there is a lot of flexibility as to what types you can use. A red grapefruit has a glorious colour and reliable sweetness, but any grapefruit variety would work, or you can substitute two more oranges, if that’s what you have on hand.
Any type of orange will do the trick, too. I personally gravitate toward the pink-hued cara cara, and I will never pass up a blood orange when I can find one. The sauce will tilt sweeter or tarter depending on the citrus you choose, but that’s half the fun of it because there is a wide berth of goodness there. Besides, you can always add a touch of honey or a squeeze of lemon at the end to adjust the flavour as needed.
The sauce is finished with a dab of butter to mellow it and add a layer of richness, and then poured over the scallops and garnished with tender, aromatic herbs. I adore the anise essence that tarragon brings here, but basil works, too. Whichever variations you choose, the result is a mouthwatering dish, ready in about half an hour, that’s sure to be a highlight of your day.
SCALLOPS WITH SHALLOT CITRUS SAUCE
Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to two days.
One medium red grapefruit
One large orange
Three tablespoons olive oil, divided
One large shallot, finely diced
One tablespoon unsalted butter
Half a teaspoon kosher salt, divided
One pound large sea scallops
Quarter teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Two teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or basil, for serving
Using a sharp paring knife, trim the top and bottom off the grapefruit and the orange, then remove the white pith and the peel of each by standing the fruit on one of its cut ends and, following the shape of the fruit with your knife, cutting downward around the fruit.
Working over a bowl so the citrus segments fall into the bowl and you catch the juice, use the paring knife to remove each segment of the fruit from its membrane. Squeeze the remaining membrane over the bowl to extract more juice. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the citrus segments to a separate bowl; reserve the juice.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat one tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they soften slightly, about two minutes. Add the reserved citrus juice and cook until the liquid in the pan has reduced slightly, one to two minutes more. Stir in the butter and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, then remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Pat the scallops all over with paper towels to ensure they are as dry as possible, then sprinkle with the remaining quarter teaspoon of salt and pepper.
In a large skillet over high heat, heat the remaining oil until shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, add the scallops and cook, without moving them, until caramelised and brown on the bottom, two to three minutes. Gently flip, and cook on the other side until the scallops are only slightly translucent in the centre, two to three minutes more.
While the scallops are cooking, add the citrus segments to the sauce, stirring gently so they don’t break up much; return the sauce to low heat until warmed through.
Evenly divide the scallops among four plates, pour about a third cup of sauce on top, and sprinkle with the herbs. Serve warm.