By Laura Jarvis of Laura’s Boston Kitchen
A scallop dish hitting all the notes you want right now - from brown butter and sage to the pop of pomegranate seeds. Good butter makes a big difference here.
1 pound dayboat scallops
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or other neutral oil, divided
2 heads of fennel, sliced into ¼” planks, stalks and fronds removed, root intact
Granulated white sugar
Fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons European style butter, divided
¼ cup fresh sage leaves, lightly packed
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
Remove muscle from thawed scallops and spread out in an even layer on a paper towel lined plate.
Heat a 12-inch stainless steel or cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add one tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and heat until shimmering.
Season the fennel planks with a generous pinch of salt and ¼ teaspoon sugar, and when the oil is hot, add fennel and sear on one side until a deep golden brown. Flip the fennel and add 1 tablespoon of butter, tilting the pan to baste the fennel planks for an additional 3 minutes or until tender and translucent. Set aside.
Turn the heat off and wipe the skillet with dry paper towels, return the heat back to medium high and add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan. While the oil heats, pat dry and liberally season the scallops with salt and pepper on both sides.
When the oil is just starting to smoke, add the scallops in an even layer in the pan and cook until the side in contact with the pan is a deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the scallops with tongs and add the butter and sage, baste with butter and sage and pan fry for an additional 3 minutes or until the butter is browned and sage is crispy.
Plate the scallops with the fennel and crispy sage, spoon brown butter over the top and finish with pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.