Bacon Wrapped Seared Scallops in a Beurre Blanc Sauce with Butternut Squash
I’ve been surprised by the many people who have told me they love scallops but don’t know how to cook them. Cooking delicious scallops are one of the simplest seafood meals you can prepare. There are many simple enhancements and additions that can be made to scallops which turn an ordinary meal into an extraordinary one.
When shopping for scallops, like other seafood, be sure to choose only seafood that is wild caught. Wild caught seafood is often better for the environment and better for you than farm raised seafood. We buy all of our seafood from West Coast Seafood. They sell the best fresh seafood every Saturday at the Old Town Newhall Farmers Market. With over 40 years in the business, they have access to varieties and quality that most people do not have.
Their scallops are dry, fresh and wild caught. Hand harvested from Massachusetts, they are also sashimi-grade. This is a loosely defined term but it generally means the seafood can be eaten raw and is of the highest quality. This high quality allows us to simply sear the scallops and not cook them all the way through. With scallops of this quality, having them slightly raw in the middle is the goal.
The round shape of scallops also begs for a simple and delicious add on, bacon. For such amazing scallops we only use the best bacon from Harvest Gathering Farm. Also sold at the Newhall Farmers Market, Harvest Gathering brings heritage pork, chicken, beef and lamb to the market. Pasture raised locally in Ojai, there is no better quality meat available in Santa Clarita.
The beurre blanc sauce is a butter based sauce. The Old Town Newhall Farmers Market is proud to host the Achadinha Cheese Company. A 4th generation family dairy in Petaluma, all of their products are a mixture of milk from their pasture raised cows and goats. Their butter is cultured and made only with top cream. With a smoke point higher than oils, it is a perfect and decadent choice for this dish.
Though we are just coming out of winter, you will still find plenty of butternut squash at the farmers market. While several vendors sell squash, Lehmann Farms brings two types of butternut squash to the market. Based in Llano, they are a true family operation growing vegetables the old fashioned way.
We cook the butternut squash with healthy olive oil. The Newhall Farmers Market also hosts Verni Farms who grows olives just outside of Fresno. In addition to growing the olives, farmer Dino Verni carries on his 100+ year family tradition of pressing and bottling the finest olive oil in our state. It is the only oil in our house.
Rounding out this meal, simply choose your favorite green side. This works well with a simple salad or broccoli. For this meal, we went with a simple stir fried broccolini grown by Miramar Farms in Val Verde.
1-1.5 lbs Fresh Scallops (about 8-12)
Bacon and Fresh Herbs (optional)
Directions: Plan on 2-3 scallops per person. Wash scallops and pat dry. Score scallops on one side with a sharp knife about ¼ inch deep. Repeat to form a ‘tic tac toe’ pattern. Wrap each scallop in one piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick (optional). Season with salt and pepper.
We recommend a cast iron pan for cooking although this is not necessary. Heat a pan over medium-high to high heat and melt about two tablespoons of butter in the pan. If you do not hear sizzling as you place the scallops in the pan, it is not hot enough. When the pan is hot, place the scallops one by one into the pan making sure to leave small spaces between the scallops. Sear for about 2 minutes. Using a thin spatula, flip the scallops. When flipping, be sure to get under them so the beautiful seared exterior is not pulled off of the scallops and left on the pan.
Sear on the other side for two minutes and remove scallops from the pan. Place scallops on a serving plate with the scored side up (this enhances the presentation and also provides grooves for the sauce to sit in). Lightly wipe the pan to remove any leftover butter. Using the same pan, you will now make the beurre blanc sauce.
Beurre Blanc Sauce
½ C Dry (non-sweet) White Wine
1 Small shallot, finely chopped
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 Stick of butter, diced
2 T Heavy cream (optional)
Add wine, shallots and lemon juice to pan. Boil mixture over medium heat until it reduces and thickens, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from stove. Allow the mixture to cool until it is below 130 degrees (this is important). Once mixture is below 130, add butter and whisk until combined. Add cream, if desired, and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over scallops and top with fresh herbs such as parsley or chives (if desired).
1 Medium to Large Butternut Squash
¼ C Olive Oil
Fresh Herbs (optional)
Peel and dice squash into ½ inch chunks. Place into large 9×13 rimmed baking dish. Pour olive oil over squash and add salt, pepper and fresh herbs (optional). Toss to combine. Place into a 350 degree oven uncovered and bake. Stir squash about 20 minutes into cooking. Squash is done when a fork easily pierces squash, about 40 minutes.
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