They're still out there folks -- blood oranges that is. I don't know for how much longer though, so try this before the season is gone. It's so quick and easy to make but tastes like something you'd pay a lot of money for in a fancy restaurant.
You can use regular oranges if you like, but of course you won't get that striking red color that contrasts so beautifully against the scallops. This dish comes together in minutes, so make sure you have all the ingredients ready from the get-go. The sauce is really a gastrique - a fancy name for when you blend sugar or honey with vinegar and other flavorings and let it reduce.
I liked it so much, I made it twice in the same week. Try it and swoosh the scallops around in the sauce for a delicious flavor combo that's good enough for company but easy enough for a weeknight meal.
Scallops in Blood Orange Sauce
six large scallops (these were so big that two were enough for one serving)
enough olive oil to coat the pan
salt, pepper to taste
juice of two blood oranges
2 T. butter
2 tsp. honey
2 T. white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
grated rind from one orange
Make the sauce simultaneously while cooking the scallops, or make it a few minutes ahead of time. This sauce is what's called a gastrique - when you mix honey or sugar with vinegar and other flavorings and let it reduce. Start by straining the juice from two blood oranges and putting it in a saucepan. Add the butter, honey and vinegar and reduce until syrupy. It should take no longer than five minutes if the flame is on high heat. Set it aside or keep it on a low flame while the scallops finish cooking.
To achieve a nice color on the scallops, it's important to get your skillet really hot before starting. Use a really sturdy stainless steel pan or cast iron skillet. Crank up the heat and let it get really hot. Then add a small amount of olive oil to coat. Place the scallops in the pan and let them sizzle. Don't peek underneath. Just leave them alone for a couple of minutes and resist the temptation to lower the heat. The first side will brown in about two to three minutes if your heat was high enough. Flip them over and do the same thing on the other side. They should need no more than five minutes total to cook. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Remove to a warm plate and cover if you're still working on the sauce. If the sauce is ready, place the scallops on a serving plate and pour the sauce around them. Garnish with grated orange rind.