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Seared Scallops with Tomato Fennel Relish

Seared Scallops with Tomato Fennel Relish
Recipe Date:
March 15, 2022
Serving Size:
Cook Time:
Imperial (US)
This flavorful dish can be served as an appetizer or as a side salad. It is best when you can get fresh heirloom tomatoes. Not only do the heirlooms add color, but the sweet and citrusy flavors will take this delicious dish up a notch or two.
  • 12 large scallops
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 3 tbsps butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup fennel bulb, diced (save some fronds for garnish)
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, divided
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup 1850 Reserve Chardonnay or other white wine
  • 2 tbsps flat leafed parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 5 ozs arugula

Lay scallops on a paper towel–lined plate and allow to come to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and let stand 5 more minutes. This will help develop the best flavor.

In a glass bowl or mason jar combine a ½ cup olive oil, half of the garlic, the lemon juice, and the lemon zest. Set aside this lemon garlic oil until needed later in recipe.

Now for the relish. With a sharp knife, carve an “X” on the top of each tomato and dip each in a large pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds. Let cool, then peel. To seed tomatoes, cut them in half and squeeze. Core and dice fine.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat until it begins to brown. Add onion, fennel, wine, a pinch of salt, and cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add cumin and cook 1 minute more, stirring often. Stir in tomatoes and cook until sauce is glossy and thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter to emulsify the sauce a bit, then add parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and turn off heat.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add oil and swirl around to coat bottom of pan. Arrange scallops in a single layer in pan, with ample space around each. Cook without moving scallops until golden and crusty underneath, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook for about a minute more on the second side. Remove pan from heat and let scallops sit in pan for one minute then transfer to a plate.

While scallops are cooking, toss the arugula lightly with lemon garlic oil.

If making this dish as an appetizer put a small amount of arugula into a gratin dish, spoon over some relish, then add a scallop to each. Top each with a dab of relish and a snippet of fennel frond.

If you are serving this as a salad divide the arugula mix onto four plates. Spoon 3 dollops of relish on top of the arugula on each plate, then top each dollop of relish with a scallop. You can put another dollop of relish in the center and garnish with fennel fronds.

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