Seared Spanish Sea Scallops with Saffron Recipe

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  • 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
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This is a wonderful Sea Scallop Recipe from Galicia, in northern Spain. Combining scallops with cured meat is a widespread tradition everywhere -- bacon is a common accompaniment -- but here I use Spanish Serrano ham. If Serrano ham isn’t readily available,  use any high-quality dry-cure ham, such as prosciutto. The scallops are seared hard on one side, then simmered with sweet onions, saffron, a little ham, dry sherry and finely chopped parsley. It's a great dish served simply with crusty bread and a green salad. Count on 5 scallops per person for the main course; this recipe serves 4 that way. You can also drop the scallops to 3 per person and serve this as an appetizer.

Here are more Spanish fish and seafood recipes:

What You'll Need

  • 20 sea scallops
  • Kosher salt
  • 2  tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped finely
  • 4  tablespoons chopped Serrano ham, cut into pieces the same size as the onion
  •  Pinch of saffron
  • 4  tablespoons finely chopped parsley1/3 cup dry sherry or white wine
  • Juice of  1 lemon

How to Make It

  1. Pat the scallops dry and salt each side with the kosher salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the olive oil to a large frying pan and heat over high heat until it's near the smoking point. Lower the heat to medium-high.
  3. Pat the scallops dry one more time and lay them down in the hot oil to sear. Do not move them for at least 2 minutes. Shake the pan a bit to see if they release themselves. Once they do, lift out and put on a plate, the seared side facing up.
  1. Once the scallops are all seared on one side, add the onions and ham and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring often to pick up any stuck-on bits from the pan.
  2. Crumble the saffron over the pan, then add the parsley and sherry and stir well to combine. Return the scallops to the pan, seared side up. Make sure the scallops are resting on the pan, not on the onions.
  3. Let this boil down vigorously until the sherry is almost gone, then turn off the heat and remove the scallops to the plate as you did before.
  4. To assemble the dish, spoon out some of the onion-ham mixtures on a plate, drizzle a little lemon juice on it and then top with the scallops.
  5. This dish is best with crusty bread and a Spanish or California Albarino wine. A Portuguese Verdelho (a semi-dry variation of Madeira) would be excellent, as would a white Cotes du Rhone or dry Riesling.