WFD: Pan seared scallops, leeks, sage butter – I forgot the bloody Prosciutto!

February 12, 2008


A pretty darn simple, yet tasty weeknight meal. Leeks are a great winter vegetable for me. They seem rich, but aren’t really, and when slowly cooked mellow out quite a bit and are fantastic with a simple butter/herb sauce like this one.

If you ask me (and you haven’t..) Scallops top the bill for a weeknight protein. They cook in just a couple of minutes, and are a super lean source of high quality protein. I have cooked scallops a hundred different ways (ok.. exaggeration to prove a point), but my favorite is always pan seared in a little olive oil until you get a nice brown crust on em. They are also fantastic in soups too – just boiled in the broth – like in the Bouillibasse I did a week ago. OK, they aren’t cheap, fresh ones here in Seattle that are decent are going to set you back between $16 and $20 a lb, depending on where you go. I have a secret though. I normally buy really good quality frozen ones. They are half the price, and for a midweek treat, they are great.

So that is it really for this dish. The sauce is just a little butter, heated until just turning brown, mixed with a small handful of sage chiffonade (thinly sliced into strips).

 OPPS!: I forgot one thing.. This was meant to have prosciutto in with the leeks too, or rather just sitting on top of the leeks, under the scallops. Just a nice little salty crunch to the dish, to contrast with the soft leeks and scallops.

Pan seared scallops, leeks, sage butter

1lb good quality scallops – as big as you can get em.

small handful of sage leaves

3 medium leeks

4 tablespoons of butter

olive oil

salt and pepper

Start by prepping the leeks. Cut the root off, and the dark green section, and discard. Carefully remove the outer skin of the leek, and discard. Wash and pat dry. Slice into 1/2″ rounds, across the leek. Try not to break up the rounds if you can help it. Repeat for all leeks.

Lay all the sage leaves on top of each other, and roll into a tube. Using a sharp knife, cut across the roll into wafer thin slices.

In a medium saute pan over a low/medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Carefully add the leeks, flat side down, taking care not to break up the rounds. Cook these gently on one side for about 5 minutes, until just soft and lightly browned. Very carefully flip them over to cook on the other side.

In another pan, get 1 tablespoon of olive oil hot over a high heat. Add the scallops flat side down, and cook for just a couple of minutes. Flip the scallops, and cook for a couple of minutes more. Make sure you don’t move them around at all – you want them to nicely brown (they can go even crustier than shown here..)

When the leeks are done, remove them carefully from the pan, and keep warm. Add the rest of the butter to the pan and when melted, add the sage. Stir until just browning.

Quickly put the leeks on a plate, top that with the sage butter, then finally pile on the scallops. Get stuck in straight away, this dish is 100x better when really hot.

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  • White On Rice Couple February 12, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    You’re so right, this does look darn simple and tasty! BTW- We just had lunch and will only visit your site after a meal now. Not at midnight any more because you kill us!

  • White On Rice Couple February 16, 2008 at 5:17 am

    We’re back. We had scallops for dinner the other night at a “higher end ” restaurant and it was rubbery(sigh) . We thought of this post and had to return for the better meal. So when is this cookbook coming out ?

  • Nina February 18, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Love your scallops…

    Ps…you’ve been tagged

  • matt wright February 18, 2008 at 4:33 am

    White on Rice – That is too bad. It is actually really hard to screw up scallops if you ask me. First off, you have to make sure you get good ones. Fresh are better if you ask me, but I have had excellent frozen scallops too. Secondly, you have to make sure they are washed well, you don’t want any grit in them – and it can sit in all the little creases in them. And finally is the cooking. What you have to remember is that you can eat scallops raw, so there really is no need to overcook them. For an average sized scallop, they only take about 5 minutes maximum to cook. Just sear them on both sides, in a really hot pan with olive oil, and job done.

    Cookbook – I have to get off my lazy **** and send it off to a few more publishers. I have a couple in mind, and hopefully will send it off this week. It is tough if you aren’t a well known chef these days. Fingers crossed though.

    Have a go at cooking scallops yourself. They are easy to cook, and taste fantastic when cooked properly.