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Posted on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 : 4:21 a.m.

Sesame-Seared Scallops over Citrus Salad - very hot pan is key to good searing technique

By Peggy Lampman


Sesame-Seared Scallops over Citrus Salad

Peggy Lampman | Contributor

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Eat your citrus, fellow Michiganders, the season for purchasing delicious citrus from the United States is now. And Hiller's has the most amazing sweet grapefruit from Texas; I purchased those as well as some scallops (on sale) so you may see the scallops again on Monday's blog; I, personally, have never tired of scallops.

Searing scallops, especially when encrusted with seeds or nuts, can be a tricky business. If you shake the pan in the first 1-2 minutes, the crust will fall off — don't say I didn't warn you.

Perfectly pan-seared scallops also depends on a very hot pan. Use a heavy cast-iron skillet, if available, or heavy-bottomed sauté pan which heats evenly. Warm the pan before you add the oil; this restaurant trick allows the pan to get really hot without burning the oil. A preheated pan also requires less oil. When searing I always use an oil with a high-smoke point, such as grape seed oil or refined canola oil. (Smoke point refers to the temperature when the oil begins to break down.)

Yield: 2-3 servings
Time: 35 minutes


2 pink grapefruit; skin, pith and seeds removed, then cut sections from membrane
1 orange; skin, pith and seeds removed then cut into sections
1 fennel bulb, stalks and core removed and thinly sliced (3 cups)
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound sea scallops
3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
6 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons grape seed oil


1. Place grapefruit, orange segments and sliced fennel in a large bowl. Whisk together lemon juice and olive oil. Reserve zest and chop for later use. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Gently toss salad with dressing and set aside.
2. Gently pat scallops dry with paper towels and lightly season on one side with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Combine parsley, thyme, sesame seeds and lemon zest. Coat each side of scallop with herb mixture.
3. Heat grape seed oil to medium high or high heat in large sauté pan. When oil is shimmering, sear the scallops until crust is golden brown on both sides and slightly translucent in the center.
4. Arrange reserved salad on plates. Place seared scallops on top of each salad and serve.

Peggy Lampman is a real-time food writer and photographer posting daily feeds on her website and in the Food & Grocery section of You may also e-mail her at