Bay scallops in basil cream sauce

Scallops in basil cream sauce

I’m back from Oregon! During my short trip to attend my step-fathers graduation, I picked up 6 bottles of Willamette Valley wine (mostly Pinot Noirs) and a sunburn (I didn’t get the memo about the 4 hour ceremony being outdoors).

I actually got back on Monday, but the past 2 nights have been occupied working out the details of the Tastespotting replacement project I’ve started with a friend. It’s not quite done yet, but if you want to check it out, leave a comment and I’ll invite you as we need beta testers.

I honestly haven’t been in the mood to cook but this is a simple classic no-brainer for bay scallops. The tartness of the wine and lemon offset the cream and the caramelized onions and scallops add an enormous amount of umami it’s by no means a light dish, but it’s also not too heavy or cloying.

For those of you that know me, you know I’ll eat almost anything, but licorice flavored things are a rare exception. That said, I enjoy challenging myself to take food I don’t like and turn it into something I like so I’ve found uses for anise flavored things. Pernod in particular goes pretty well with seafood and I’ve even found myself craving the combo sometimes. I still won’t touch those black tar sticks though.

The basil in this dish goes well with Pernod and if you have a fennel bulb sitting around, add it in with the spring onions. Tarragon would work too. If you want to do something different, try replacing the basil and Pernod with saffron and ginger.

1/2 lbs dry bay scallops (see footnote here for info about dry scallops)
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 spring onion chopped small
1/2 C white wine
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 C heavy cream
1 tsp Pernod (or other anise flavoured liqueur)
1/4 C basil chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste
8oz pasta (I used homemade pappardelle)

The trick with this recipe is to make the sauce ahead, then time the pasta and scallops so they are done at the same time. Depending on the type of pasta you’re using it will take different amounts of time, so I’ll leave it to your discretion as to when to start the pasta.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan. Saute the onions until soft and starting to caramelize. Add the wine and lemon juice and reduce until thick and gluggy. Add the cream and Pernod and turn down the heat to keep it warm.

Clean and dry the scallops. Heat a non-teflon pan over high heat until hot. Lightly salt and pepper the scallops. Add the butter to the pan and swirl to melt. When the bubbling subsides add the scallops in a single layer without overcrowding the pan. Sear undisturbed until brown then flip with tongs. Cook until the top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 of the scallop is opaque and the middle 1/3 is still translucent.

Transfer the scallops to a plate then add the cream sauce to the pan that the scallops came out of and deglaze. All that brown fond on the pan adds umami to the sauce. Add the basil to the sauce then put the drained pasta in the sauce and stir to coat.

Plate the pasta then top with the scallops and drizzle any remaining sauce on top.

  • http://www.justgetfloury.blogspot.com/ Ginny

    I love the combination!!! If you need a tester, I’m in…the death of tastespotting was tragic! :)

  • http://www.justgetfloury.blogspot.com/ Ginny

    I love the combination!!! If you need a tester, I’m in…the death of tastespotting was tragic! :)

  • http://scalloped-edge.blogspot.com/ Joanna

    I love the idea behind this dish — I’ve made seared scallops before and it always seemed a little wasteful to scrape off and throw away the buttery brown bits left in the pan. Turning them into a pan sauce is the perfect solution! Unfortunately my dislike of licorice extends to all the other ingredients you mentioned (anise, fennel, tarragon, and probably Pernod as well)… maybe I will try the saffron-ginger variation, or perhaps replace the Pernod with white wine and just use more basil.

  • http://scalloped-edge.blogspot.com Joanna

    I love the idea behind this dish — I’ve made seared scallops before and it always seemed a little wasteful to scrape off and throw away the buttery brown bits left in the pan. Turning them into a pan sauce is the perfect solution! Unfortunately my dislike of licorice extends to all the other ingredients you mentioned (anise, fennel, tarragon, and probably Pernod as well)… maybe I will try the saffron-ginger variation, or perhaps replace the Pernod with white wine and just use more basil.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Oboy… I have to admit that “licorice” is not really a dominant flavor I want to have in my dishes, but who can argue with such a good looking dish, and with scallops yet, my favorite! :)

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com manggy

    Oboy… I have to admit that “licorice” is not really a dominant flavor I want to have in my dishes, but who can argue with such a good looking dish, and with scallops yet, my favorite! :)

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    Looks wonderful and I’d love to hear about the wines you purchased.

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    Looks wonderful and I’d love to hear about the wines you purchased.

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    I’m not big on licorice either, it’s one of the very few flavours I don’t like. (I love fennel though) This looks absolutely gorgeous though and it’s nice to see you back! :)

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    I’m not big on licorice either, it’s one of the very few flavours I don’t like. (I love fennel though) This looks absolutely gorgeous though and it’s nice to see you back! :)

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com/ maybelles mom (feeding maybell

    Interesting–my husband would love this, so i have bookmarked it. And, I would love to beta test markspotting or whatever its called.

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com maybelles mom (feeding maybelle)

    Interesting–my husband would love this, so i have bookmarked it. And, I would love to beta test markspotting or whatever its called.

  • http://wanderluck.wordpress.com/ Kate

    Looks grand, Marc – I don’t like seafood, but I think I would eat that dish at least once! Anything with caramelized onions can’t be all bad.

    I’m nominating myself as a beta for the Tastespotting replacement, too, please.

  • http://wanderluck.wordpress.com/ Kate

    Looks grand, Marc – I don’t like seafood, but I think I would eat that dish at least once! Anything with caramelized onions can’t be all bad.

    I’m nominating myself as a beta for the Tastespotting replacement, too, please.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ We Are Never Full

    i love that ‘i don’t feel like cooking much’ translates into a beauty like this!! most of the time, when one doesn’t feel like cooking they bust out the grilled cheese or head to the nearest restaurant! good luck w/ the tastespotting idea. i’ll help out if need be.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com We Are Never Full

    i love that ‘i don’t feel like cooking much’ translates into a beauty like this!! most of the time, when one doesn’t feel like cooking they bust out the grilled cheese or head to the nearest restaurant! good luck w/ the tastespotting idea. i’ll help out if need be.

  • http://asoutherngrace.blogspot.com/ grace

    first of all, your picture site is awesome and i’m thrilled to be testing it.
    secondly, you could put cream sauce on an old shoe and i’d lick it off. good stuff. :)

  • http://asoutherngrace.blogspot.com grace

    first of all, your picture site is awesome and i’m thrilled to be testing it.
    secondly, you could put cream sauce on an old shoe and i’d lick it off. good stuff. :)

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    looks gorgeous. i find anything licorice-y a little dodgy although i’m always willing to try :) pity on the sunburn, hope it cools down into a nice tan! fingers crossed.

    good luck on that project. if you need any help, you’ve got an extra pair of hands here.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    looks gorgeous. i find anything licorice-y a little dodgy although i’m always willing to try :) pity on the sunburn, hope it cools down into a nice tan! fingers crossed.

    good luck on that project. if you need any help, you’ve got an extra pair of hands here.

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    Love licorice in all its different forms. Very inventive yet again Marc. Good luck with the tastespotting idea. I’m sure you’ve sen a few of the other variations around the net. I’d be happy to be a beta tester.

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    Love licorice in all its different forms. Very inventive yet again Marc. Good luck with the tastespotting idea. I’m sure you’ve sen a few of the other variations around the net. I’d be happy to be a beta tester.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That looks good! That cream sauce s one of my favorites. The addition of the anise flavoured liqueur sounds interesting. I will have to try it.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That looks good! That cream sauce s one of my favorites. The addition of the anise flavoured liqueur sounds interesting. I will have to try it.

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    oh yeah and sign me up as a beta tester. I have no idea what that means but am keen as :)

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    oh yeah and sign me up as a beta tester. I have no idea what that means but am keen as :)

  • http://www.thursdaynightsmackdown.com/ michelle @ TNS

    i loathe licorice, but i might be able to get behind the pernod.

    once we were making scallops and had no wine around to deglaze the pan. but we did have…maker’s mark. and it was de-frigging-licious.

  • http://www.thursdaynightsmackdown.com michelle @ TNS

    i loathe licorice, but i might be able to get behind the pernod.

    once we were making scallops and had no wine around to deglaze the pan. but we did have…maker’s mark. and it was de-frigging-licious.

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com/ sharon

    Bringing back wine and a sunburn aren’t the worst things you could bring back from vacation, huh? :) Love the beta site.

    This photo is seriously making me drool. I’m starving at the airport and I’m currently faced with Pizza Hut & Burger King. Yuck.

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com sharon

    Bringing back wine and a sunburn aren’t the worst things you could bring back from vacation, huh? :) Love the beta site.

    This photo is seriously making me drool. I’m starving at the airport and I’m currently faced with Pizza Hut & Burger King. Yuck.

  • Marc

    Thanks Ginny, I’ve added you to the list.

    Joanna, I can’t blame you, I’m really not a picky eater and even I have trouble with it. The amount in this recipe isn’t too crazy, but if you want to be on the safe side, just leave it out.

    Manggy, wow I didn’t know there were so many licorice haters out there:-) Around where I grew up I thought I was a freak for not liking it.

    Noble Pig, mostly Pinot Noirs, I got a few bottles at Domaine Drouhin and few at Domaine Serene (the 2 farms Pinot is amazing). As much as I live Russian River Pinots (Navarro and J are amoung my favourites) I have to say the Willamette ones where a refreshing change.

    Thanks Laura, glad to hear I’m not the only one that’s not into licorice. I’ve added you to the list.

    Thanks Maybelles mom, you’re on the list:-)

    Kate, you’re on the list. As for seafood, a lot of people I know that don’t like seafood just haven’t had fresh seafood (understandable if you don’t live near the water). You could try making this with chicken though:-)

    We Are Never Full, “I don’t feel like cooking much” really translates to “I’m not feeling very creative today”.

    Grace, lol “cream sauce on an old shoe” I’ll have to remember that one!

    Diva, thanks, I’ll let you know when the site is fully operational.

    Peter G, you’re on the list, it’s more-or-less done but I’m waiting till we have 1 more piece of functionality before I announce it to more people.

    Thanks Kevin!

    Michelle, I’m a fellow licorice hater, but I have a huge bottle of Pernod (which I can’t drink), so I’ve been trying to find ways to use it 1/2 tsp at a time.

    Thanks Sharon, airport food is unfortunate… Hope you had a good trip:-)

  • Marc

    Thanks Ginny, I’ve added you to the list.

    Joanna, I can’t blame you, I’m really not a picky eater and even I have trouble with it. The amount in this recipe isn’t too crazy, but if you want to be on the safe side, just leave it out.

    Manggy, wow I didn’t know there were so many licorice haters out there:-) Around where I grew up I thought I was a freak for not liking it.

    Noble Pig, mostly Pinot Noirs, I got a few bottles at Domaine Drouhin and few at Domaine Serene (the 2 farms Pinot is amazing). As much as I live Russian River Pinots (Navarro and J are amoung my favourites) I have to say the Willamette ones where a refreshing change.

    Thanks Laura, glad to hear I’m not the only one that’s not into licorice. I’ve added you to the list.

    Thanks Maybelles mom, you’re on the list:-)

    Kate, you’re on the list. As for seafood, a lot of people I know that don’t like seafood just haven’t had fresh seafood (understandable if you don’t live near the water). You could try making this with chicken though:-)

    We Are Never Full, “I don’t feel like cooking much” really translates to “I’m not feeling very creative today”.

    Grace, lol “cream sauce on an old shoe” I’ll have to remember that one!

    Diva, thanks, I’ll let you know when the site is fully operational.

    Peter G, you’re on the list, it’s more-or-less done but I’m waiting till we have 1 more piece of functionality before I announce it to more people.

    Thanks Kevin!

    Michelle, I’m a fellow licorice hater, but I have a huge bottle of Pernod (which I can’t drink), so I’ve been trying to find ways to use it 1/2 tsp at a time.

    Thanks Sharon, airport food is unfortunate… Hope you had a good trip:-)

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/ syrie

    Looks wonderful. I haven’t been game enough to try cooking scallops as yet but your recipe is inspiring me to finally do so.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com syrie

    Looks wonderful. I haven’t been game enough to try cooking scallops as yet but your recipe is inspiring me to finally do so.

  • Tara

    Since they’re what I had on hand, a shallot sliced into thin rings, half n’ half, and a little anise extract were fine subs for the spring onion, cream, and pernod. This was an absolutely phenomenal and simple dinner, and all of the flavors were a perfect complement to each other. Truly a dish worthy of the bay scallops we spent all day catching and shucking yesterday! Thank you for posting this. I cannot wait to make it again!

  • Tara

    Since they’re what I had on hand, a shallot sliced into thin rings, half n’ half, and a little anise extract were fine subs for the spring onion, cream, and pernod. This was an absolutely phenomenal and simple dinner, and all of the flavors were a perfect complement to each other. Truly a dish worthy of the bay scallops we spent all day catching and shucking yesterday! Thank you for posting this. I cannot wait to make it again!

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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