My mother’s Maritime roots meant that scallops were an occasional midweek meal. As an adult, I would struggle with cooking scallops until our friend Chef Matt DeMille set me straight. His instructions were simple: “Brine them for a few minutes in salt water.” This removes the guesswork from cooking them and makes them easier to sear without overcooking.
The gastrique can be made with 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of any jam instead of apple slices, or you may wish to add a bit of infused booze for more flavour. Both would be added at the same time as the lemon zest and honey.
Roughly chop dried apples and place in small pot. Add lemon zest and honey and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until honey darkens.
Add vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Lightly simmer, uncovered, until thickened into syrup, 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat oven broiler to 500 F (260 C).
Sprinkle salt over scallops and add just enough cold water to barely cover them. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, and no more than 20 minutes.
While scallops brine, melt butter with lemon juice in small pot over medium-low heat.
Strain scallops and rinse well. Gently toss scallops in melted butter mixture. Place on baking tray, leaving space between them so they don’t touch.
Broil for 3 minutes, then gently shake pan to toss them. You can flip them individually, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort. Broil for 3 more minutes and remove from oven. Let rest for 4 minutes.
Spread gastrique on serving plate and put scallops on top. Garnish with parsley and black pepper.
This recipe is part of the Why Preserve? collection.
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