Okay, scallops are a huge splurge for us; we only have them once in a great while for something special. Costco does have a large 2.5 pound bag often and per pound they are way more reasonable than the market or fish market, $19.29 per pound compared to fresh scallops that are anywhere around $28.99 and up. We bought them for a paella dinner with friends a few weeks back. I used less than half and for a meal for the two of us we only needed 4 or 5 each, so the pack will give us 3 dinners plus the 12 or 14 that I put in the paella. So, not too bad! They come flash frozen, are wild caught, and are U-15 Grade A Sea Scallops. I heard somewhere you could simply thaw them in a bowl of water. I thawed them in the bowl of water in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. Then I simply, drained the water off, rinsed them and dried them very well, several times. You want them to be very dry to get a good “crust” on them. Scallops are delicious any way you serve them, they are decadent and elegant, but this sauce is crazy good and takes them to another level. You could also serve this for a larger group as an appetizer, or double the recipe to serve 4. Or serve as a companion to a nice New York or Rib Eye steak for an amazing duo.
Sea Scallops with Bacon and Brandy Saffron Sauce (Gluten Free)
- 8-10 sea scallops or about 3/4 pound, fresh or frozen and thawed, rinsed and dried well
- 1 strip of thick bacon, cooked and chopped
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of minced white onion or shallot
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
- Crushed black pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 16 threads of saffron, and a few for the top when plated if you like
- 1 ounce brandy or Grand Marnier liqueur
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon of heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1/8 lemon
- Set the rinsed scallops on several paper towels on a plate and pat dry.
- Cook the bacon until light crisp in a large cast iron skillet or stainless skillet. Remove from the pan and cut into small pieces. Divide in two, some for the sauce and some for plating.
- Crush the saffron into the 1/2 cup of white wine. Set aside.
- Remove some of the bacon fat, leaving a tablespoon in the skillet. Add the onion and a sprinkle of salt and ground black pepper. Saute on medium low until soft. Add the garlic in and stir for 20-30 seconds.
- Pour the wine into the skillet to deglaze the pan, stirring the bacon bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Add the brandy and continue to simmer the sauce, to reduce the liquid and alcohol for a few minutes.
- Add a tablespoon of butter and half of the bacon into the sauce and give a stir.
- Stir in the cream. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon or pour into a small bowl or ramekin. Cover to keep warm or by setting the bowl inside a flat bowl of hot water.
- Pat the scallops dry again with a dry paper towel and lightly sprinkle with salt and crushed pepper.
- Clean the skillet to remove sugary residue or use another skillet to cook the scallops. Heat the skillet over high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet.
- Set each scallop down flat in the pan, being mindful of which one was first in the pan. Do not move or touch the scallop after setting in the pan. Cook over high heat for 2-3 ½ minutes or until the scallops begins to shrink and pull away from the skillet and change color about just past midway up the scallop. The first side down should be very brown. Use tongs to carefully turn over, so not to leave the browned side of the scallop on the skillet bottom.
- Let cook for another 1-1 ½ minutes until they look opaque and are a bit firm. Time will vary depending on the size of scallops and the temperature and skillet type.
- Turn off the burner. Add the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons of butter and use a spoon to coat the scallops while leaving them in place in the skillet. Squeeze the lemon on top of the scallops and plate them, spooning sauce over the tops and adding a few pieces of the reserved bacon pieces and a few threads of saffron over the scallops for each plate.