Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Scallops with Cherry-Tarragon Sauce

I admit that sometimes my recipes involve fussy steps.  Maybe I'm a little bit masochistic on the weekends, and I love the challenge of channeling the Martha Stewart that lurks inside me.  Then, there are times when I want things to be really simple.  I love it when I find a recipe that takes minutes to make, and turns out to have that "wow" factor.  I found this recipe when I received a newsletter from Whole Foods that Wild Caught Scallops would be on sale for $9.99 a pound-- on Friday, only.   As soon as I was off work, I skedaddled to Whole Foods and stocked up on a few pounds of what I called my "Fillet Mignon of the Sea".  Score!

... and then I spotted these gorgeous Bing cherries, for $4.99 a pound.  I loved that these were sold in a box, so I could pick out all the dark red ones. When I arrived home, I found this recipe suggestion on Whole Food's Facebook Fan Page.  I admit that at first I wondered... cherries and tarragon?  When I mentioned it to my husband, he got really excited.  So, this would be our Saturday night "Date Night" dinner at Chez Debby's.  The recipe calls for shallots, which is always in my fridge. Only, this time, I was out.  Sweet onions it was...

Fortunately, we have French tarragon that grows in abundance in our yard.  It's like growing mint, in that it can take over your garden. Tarragon is an interesting herb.  It dies off in the cold winter months, and then comes back in the spring-- like gangbusters. It's an herb that doesn't seem to be used as often as thyme or oregano.  It has a distinct but subtle note of licorice, and not nearly as pungent as fennel-- and I'm not a fan of fennel.  But tarragon, I love!  It pairs beautifully with chicken or seafood.  It's also what turns a hollandaise into a Bernaise sauce-- one of my favorite sauces of all. I digress... back to how quickly this recipe is made:

To know me is to know that I'm a gadgetholic.  Last year, I bought a Norpro Cherry Pitter.  I finally put the gadget together and I was surprised at how much I liked it. You need about 2 cups of pitted cherries, quartered.  I was scaling the recipe down for just the two of us, so I eye-balled about a cup of cherries.

Scallops can be easy to prepare. Be warned, that overcooking them turns the into chewy and tough chunks of seafood.  They're similar to cooking shrimp.  Just be sure to pat them really dry and it only takes 2-3 minutes, per side, to sear on high heat with olive oil.  I have a more detailed tutorial on one of my favorite summer pasta dishes, Scallops and Pasta (to view that, click here).  Simply season with sea salt and pepper...


...turn and sear 2-3 minutes more.

Remove to a plate, and cover with foil. I like to keep these warm in the oven, that I've preheated to WARM.

Add the shallots (in this case, I had to use onion) and cook till tender, 2-3 minutes.

Instead of using rice vinegar, I added a generous splash of white wine to deglaze the pan.  Then I added about 1/4 cup of low-sodium chicken stock and the cherries.  I simply let the sauce reduce for about 5-7 minutes...
...then added about 1 generous Tablespoon of chopped tarragon, and let the sauce cook for about a minute longer.

I served this with Yellow Rice and a chilled glass of vino.


TASTING NOTES:  The scallops were as tender as I could have hoped for.  The sweet and very slight tartness of the Bing cherries worked really well with the tarragon.  Other than a duck with a cherry sauce, this is the first time I've used this fruit in a savory dish.  This dish is fancy and impressive enough for a dinner party.  It's super easy to make.  My husband was very appreciative and pleased. So was I!  I would definitely make this dish again, and I might try this using rice vinegar-- as the original recipe included.  But, I need to do it before cherry season is gone!

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.





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10 comments:

Kate said...

This sounds like an intriguing combination. Your scallops look perfect!

From the Kitchen said...

Beautifully delicious!! I am printing out the recipe. When I was in New England a few months ago, my son met the boat and purchased scallops. They were so delicious! Costco has them on Friday and Saturday here. And, if I don't get them there, Whole Foods is my go to market.

Hope you are feeling better.

Best,
Bonnie

Joanne said...

I've really fallen in love with fruity sauces in savory places lately and this cherry-tarragon sauce sounds fantastic!

Kay Heritage said...

Oh, good heavens, Debby! What amazing dish is this!

Aarthi said...

This looks so yummy and delicious..Will try this soon..Seems really simple..thanks for the recipe dear..Post more and keep blogging

Allie said...

I love that you were willing to do something different even if you weren't sure how it would taste! I'm sure I've had tarragon before but I never have been aware of it so I don't know what it tastes like. Ever since Foodbuzz I've been on the search for the perfect scallop! And unfortunately Jay and I decided to go to the Caribbean this summer, so no CA. Sad, I know, I really wanted to be able to see you in sunny California and your hometown. But time is not running out :)

bellini said...

We are still waiting for local cherries and even strawberries but this would be amazing Debby!

Donna-FFW said...

Hope you were well rewarded for this date night feast;)

Beautiful dish!

Jen_from_NJ said...

I love all of the colors. Gorgeous!

Susie said...

Your photographs are absolutely amazing!