Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique

Adapted from Paley’s Place (Portland, OR) via Bon Appetit

Something about the fancy culinary term “gastrique” nearly made me shy away from this recipe, but it’s a good thing I didn’t. It turns out that a gastrique – a sweet and sour sauce made from caramelized sugar and vinegar – is very simple to make.

  • For the gastrique:
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh blood orange juice (from 6 oranges, see tips)
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • For the scallops and brussels sprouts:
  • 2 blood oranges, peeled and separated into segments
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup mixed salad greens
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 18-20 large sea scallops, rinsed and pat dry
  • To make the blood orange gastrique, place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and heat until it begins to melt. Stir until sugar dissolves, then allow it to become a deep, dark brown by letting it sit on the heat without stirring at all. This should take 3 to 4 minutes. While waiting for the sugar to cook, combine the vinegars in a small bowl. Gradually add the vinegar mixture to the caramelized sugar. The mixture will harden. Stir it until the caramel melts into the vinegar, about one minute. It will be very bubbly and fragrant. Add blood orange juice and turn heat up to high. Bring mixture to boil and allow to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes or so. Add the broth and continue boiling until gastique is reduced to a generous 1/2 cup and coats the back of a spoon. It took my gastrique about 25 minutes to reach this point, though the original recipe said it should only take 15. It will be a deep, dark burgundy color and syrupy. Gastrique can be prepared ahead of time: allow to cool, then cover and chill for up to 3 days. Rewarm over medium heat.
  • Place orange segments, parsley, mint and greens in a medium bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a touch of kosher salt and black pepper. Toss to coat evenly, then set aside.
  • Prepare brussels sprouts by trimming the ends and removing the outer leaves. Place leaves in a bowl. When only the core remains, slice it thinly and add it to the bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the brussels sprouts and toss until just tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the brussels sprouts to a bowl. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the same skillet. Turn heat up to high in order to create a nice crust on the scallops. Sprinkle scallops lightly with kosher salt and black pepper, then add to the hot skillet. Cook about 2 minutes per side. They will be golden brown on the outside and just opaque in the center. Do not overcook them or they’ll turn rubbery.
  • Arrange the scallops and brussels sprouts on a plate. Drizzle gastrique over the scallops and garnish with the salad.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. If you have a citrus juicer, use it. I foolishly decided to juice the blood oranges by hand (see right – how else am I supposed to get these pictures, people?). By the time I was finished, my counter and hands looked like a murder scene with “bloodied” orange rind corpses laying all over my sticky counter. Save yourself the mess if you can.
  • 2. I had a little bit of gastrique leftover. Even though it was only a tablespoon or so, I couldn’t bring myself to toss it. It can be used over green salads that need a little kick or drizzled over simply prepared chicken breasts to add some pizzazz. If you will be making the blood orange, arugula and goat cheese salad later in the week, reserve a little of the gastrique to use then.

Preparation time: 1 hour(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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