No Prescription Needed

In addition to infusing today’s entry with a vibrant and tangy hum, blood oranges supply a healthy dose of antioxidants, those spirited cancer fighters that make similarly-hued pomegranates a superfood.  Of course, that’s not why they’re included; blood oranges’ taste carries the day.  With an almost musky sweetness that brings raspberries to mind, the oranges perfectly accent the scallops’ pan-seared toasty silkiness.  Plus, just look at those colors.

When Bon Appetit featured instructions for Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique in its February 2011 issue, the recipe made the short list.  Though this journal still was well in the future at that point, when inspiration finally arrived, this preparation was destined for your attention.

While blood oranges and scallops are this dish’s soul, they aren’t the only flavor contributors.  A bed of mixed greens elevates the shellfish, adding both dimension and taste.  Brussels sprout leaves are sautéed briefly in olive oil and sea salt, anticipating the scallops’ brininess and unlocking the sprouts’ natural nuttiness.   Cilantro, tarragon and mint round out the greenery with ethereal herbal notes.

Finally, blood orange wedges are distributed among the greens before scallops crown them and the gastrique is drizzled over it all.  This amplifies the raspberry flavor profile and laces the dish with a subtle zing.

It should be noted blood oranges generally aren’t in season until Christmas or so (all part of winter’s citrus bounty), though special arrangements were made for today’s entry.  Your continued interest is worth the extra effort.  If you’re inspired to try this recipe, wait a couple months, or substitute navel oranges.

If you’re like me and were unfamiliar with gastrique before encountering this dish, a definition of sorts follows.  In culinary usage, a gastrique is caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar to which drippings or fruit juice is added, depending on how much sweetness is desired.  In today’s example, and indeed in most cases, a gastrique is a sweet-sour syrup.

No matter what the cookbook says, it just tastes good, and has great health benefits too.  Who knew medicine was so sumptuous?


Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique

For the blood orange gastrique:

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh blood orange juice (*1)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth (*2)

For the scallops and greens:

  • 2 blood oranges, peeled and separated into segments
  • 1/4 cup each (lightly packed), fresh parsley leaves (*3), fresh mint leaves and fresh tarragon leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, leaves removed from the core and core discarded
  • 20 large sea scallops, side muscles removed

For the gastrique, put sugar in a saucepan.  Place over medium heat until the sugar begins to melt.  Reduce heat to medium-low and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Cook, without stirring, until the sugar turns golden-brown, about five minutes.

Gradually add the vinegar (*4) and stir until the mixture is smooth, about a minute. Add orange juice and bring to a boil for about five minutes.  Add the broth and continue boiling until the mixture reduces to half a cup or so, about twenty minutes.  Remove from heat.

After the gastrique is finished and is cooling, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of the oil.  Add the Brussels sprouts and toss until slightly charred and just tender, about three minutes.  Sprinkle with sea salt to taste and remove the sprouts to a separate plate to cool.

Pour the remaining olive oil into the skillet and add the scallops in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper and cook until the bottom starts to brown and the scallop begins to lose its opaqueness, one to two minutes.  Using tongs, turn each scallop upside-down and continue cooking for another minute or two.  Remove the scallops to a separate plate.

Mix the cooled Brussels sprouts with the other greens and with the orange segments.  Divide the salad equally among the serving plates and top with the scallops.  Drizzle gastrique over each plate and serve.


1 – If blood oranges are unavailable when you try this recipe, navel oranges will work.  You won’t get the beguiling notes of raspberry (and all the antioxidants!), but the broad theme will remain the same.

2 – Canned is fine, but homemade is so much better, for various reasons.

3 – I substituted cilantro for the parsley, as its taste more closely complements the other ingredients.

4 – Add the vinegar slowly, a few drops at a time, because the caramel will greet it vigorously at first.




4 thoughts on “No Prescription Needed

  1. totally agree nothing like simple greens to elevate some so sublime as seafood Scallops OMG probably my fav seafood my nemesis. I just want to jump in the post and take a bite! My daughter’s fav too! Thx for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! The pan-seared Brussels sprouts were this dish’s best surprise. Having only experienced them raw, in salads, who knew they’d be so nutty, savory even? Scallops are great too, aren’t they? A bit pricy, which makes them all the more a treat, though. Her affinity for scallops speaks well for your daughter, and foretells a bright future!


  2. The blood orange gastrique looks lovely. And the greens not only must add amazing flavour, but also they add to the vibrancy of the dish. And aesthetic appeal is important. Luscious recipe!!! Can’t wait for the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you much! You choose a good description when you mention, “vibrancy.” The oranges and greens give this a sparkling freshness that cheats late autumn of its quarry (us). Dine in a “July” fashion, although December looms!

      Liked by 1 person

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