Sea Scallops with Saffron Couscous and Salsa
Suzanne Goin is one of my favourite chefs. My copy of her latest book, the a.o.c. cookbook, has 9/10 beside many recipes. This is an adaptation of one of them. The fool-proof method for cooking the scallops is from Canada's Susur Lee's A Culinary Life.
Serves: 6
For the Salsa
  • 3 blood oranges (save 3 strips of peel about 3"X 1" long to add to the couscous)
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • ⅓ cup red pepper, diced (cut away any white pith)
  • 2 tbsp shallots, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mint, sliced
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
For the Sea Scallops
  • 18 large Digby Bay scallops
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1½ tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp pink peppercorns, crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
For the Saffron Couscous
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • Three 3" x1" strips of blood orange peel saved from above
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
For the Salsa (make ahead)
  1. The salsa looks nicest if you 'suprême' the fruit. Trim the tops and bottom off the oranges and grapefruit. Stand them cut-side down on your cutting board. For each piece of fruit, work from top to bottom with your knife to cut off all the peel and pith all the way around the citrus. Reserve 3 strips of peel and squeeze out the juices into a small bowl.
  2. Rest the fruit lightly on its side on your cutting board and carefully slice between the membranes to release the segments in between. Cut each 'suprême' into two pieces, maybe smaller if your grapefruit segments seem too large.
  3. Add the fruit segments (and any more collected juice) to the bowl.Add the shallots, vinegar, mint and oil and stir.
For the Saffron Couscous (Step 1 can be done ahead of time or steps 1 sand 2 and gently reheat before serving)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add the onions, couscous and blood orange peel and cook until the couscous is toasted, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the saffron, lemon peel, water and some salt and pepper to the couscous. Bring to a boil and simmer until the water is evaporated and the couscous is tender, about 12-15 minutes. Stir the thyme leaves into the couscous. Cover and let sit (up to 30 minutes). Discard the peel.
For the Scallops (Step 1 can be done ahead of time)
  1. Dry the scallops with a paper towel. Rub the lemon zest and thyme on them and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat in an ovenproof skillet large enough to hold the scallops in a single layer.
  4. Sprinkle some salt and the crushed pink peppercorns on the scallops, put them in the hot skillet and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Turn them over and put the skillet in the hot oven to bake for 4 minutes. Remove and set aside on a trivet.
To Serve
  1. Spoon the couscous into the centre of six dinner plates. Top each serving with 3 scallops and drizzle the skillet juices evenly on top. Spoon the salsa over the scallops and enjoy.
  1. If you're making this Valentine's Day Menu in its entirety, leave your oven on to cook the soufflés.
Recipe by Latitude 65 - Jubilados Savouring the Journey at