Prep 30 mins
Cook 15 mins
This can be as a first course appetizer, but I love to serve this as a salad starter. It is so good and really is a show stopper. The spinach is pan seared for just 1 minute and then topped with the scallops seared and garnished with a brandy cream sauce. Note, the sauce can easily be made ahead of time as well as the apples and pears. Pan searing the spinach as I mentioned and scallops takes only minutes so make sure everything is done and ready to go. To keep the apple, pears and scallops warm, I just put them in a small bowl and cover with foil and set in a 200 degree oven. But it is not a big deal if you don't put them in the oven, just covering them with foil should keep them warm enough. This is a very quick but very elegant dish. I have served this for many holiday dinner and always has rave reviews. It is also on my catering menu and is always very popular. So, don't be scared off by four steps. Two steps are done in advance and the rest is done in just minutes. Just take it step by step. It is not hard.
- 1 large shallot, chopped fine
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1⁄3 cup brandy
- 1⁄2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1⁄2 cup apple cider
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
Apples and Pears
- 1 cup granny smith apple (peeled and chopped fine)
- 1 cup bosc pear (peeled and chopped fine)
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 tablespoons pecans, chopped fine
- 1 (7 ounce) bag Baby Spinach
- 16 large sea scallops
- 1⁄2 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt (for scallops)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper (for scallops)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon olive oil (for spinach)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt (for spinach)
- 1 pinch ground black pepper (for spinach)
- Brandy Sauce -- I make this first so it is already to go because everything else is so quick. In a small pot add the oil and heat to medium high heat. Saute the shallot and cook just a minute until it softens slightly. Add the brandy (make sure you remove from the burner when you do this) return and then cook just a few seconds. Then add in the cream and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl. I just keep it at room temperature unless you make it the morning of, then you can refrigerate. But make sure you bring to room temp before you make your scallops.
- Apples and Pears -- I make these ahead to and just reheat in the micro for just 1 minute. Makes this much easier. In a small sauce pan add the butter and bring to medium high heat. Add the apples and pears and cook 3-5 minutes until soft but NOT mushy. You want them tender. Once soft, add in the pecans and remove to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Scallops -- Remove from the refrigerator and let them set at room temperature. Just let them come to room temp it won't take long. At this point, make sure you take your sauce and apples out of the refrigerator if you made them earlier that day. You want to make sure they are room temperature.
- Searing Scallops -- Very Important! Make sure the scallops are dry, pat dry with a paper towel. In a small bowl, add the bread crumbs, salt and pepper and dip each side of the scallop lightly in the mixture. Then in large saute pan NON stick heat to medium high to high heat and add the olive oil. Add the scallops (don't over crowd, you want a nice dark brown sear) and cook until nicely brown on each side. They will only take about 2 minutes per side. It may take 2 batches depending on the size of your pan. Remove to a plate and cover with foil as you make the sauce.
- Part 2 -- After removing the scallops, reduce the heat to medium and add the apple cider and thyme to the pan and scrape up all the bits on the bottom. Boil 1 minute until the cider reduces a bit and all the bits are scraped up. Then add you room temp brandy sauce and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute and remove from the heat.
- Spinach, Apples and Pears -- Last components. I just reheat my apples/pears in the microwave for just a minute before plating.
- And as for the spinach, I just put in a large bowl and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Then toss and cover with plastic wrap and cook 1 minute. You don't want it completely wilted, just lightly sauteed.
- Plating -- On each plate, add some of the wilted spinach and then a scallop in the middle. Top that scallop with a spoon of the apple, pear, and nut mixture and then another scallop. Put a tooth pic through the top so they don't fall over. Just drizzle with the brandy sauce and serve.
- Just enjoy this great very unique wonderful appetizer/salad starter course. This served with some grilled steaks or beef tenderloin a potato gratain and some amazing desert makes this a 5 star dinner. A little work for a beginning dish, but it does get noticed.