These Seared Scallops with Fennel & Blood Orange make a perfect light dinner that’s as beautiful as it is delicious.
I have a good friend who raves about the Whole 30 program – She says the food is great, she never feels hungry, and it’s easy. So I decided to look into it… And then I found out that you can’t drink wine. These Seared Scallops with Fennel & Blood Orange are Whole 30 approved, if you choose to go that route, however.
This dish is vibrant, crunchy, tangy and just so beautiful with those blood oranges. I really can’t pass up blood oranges when they’re in season. Mainly, because I love their dark, maroon color, but secondly, because I love their flavor – A bit milder, and not as tangy as the traditional orange, with a bit of a berry undertone. You should be able to find them fairly easily in your traditional supermarket this time of year.
To go alongside those beautiful blood oranges is another of my favorite ingredients – Fennel. I love it both thinly sliced in salads or roasted and tossed with a bit of fresh pasta. In its raw form, fennel has a bit of a bite to it, with hints of licorice flavor and a texture similar to celery. It’s crunchy and refreshing, and it goes so well with the seared scallops in this recipe.
To get those scallops perfectly seared, we’re cooking them in a skillet with a good layer of olive oil – Adding a full ½ cup to the pan ensures that the bottom is fully submerged in the oil, giving you that golden sear. Once the first side is perfectly browned, the scallops are flipped over to finish cooking, along with a big spoonful of briny capers, and a bit of butter. As that second side of the scallops crisps up, so do the capers – We’ll serve those on top of the scallops to add a bit of salty crunch. The finishing touch comes from some sliced green olives and a sprinkling of chopped pistachios.
The finished product is sweet, briny, crunchy, light and, if you’re not following the Whole 30 plan – Perfect for enjoying with a glass of Pinot Gris or Rosé.
Seared Scallops with Fennel & Blood Orange
- 1 large fennel bulb halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 blood oranges peeled and sliced
- 6 tablespoons fresh blood orange juice (from 1-2 oranges)
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 10 large sea scallops
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons capers drained
- 1/4 cup sliced green olives
- 1/4 cup pistachios chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together the blood orange juice and ¼ cup olive oil. Toss with the sliced fennel and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining ½ cup olive oil over high heat, until shimmering. Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Add the scallops to the skillet and cook until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the scallops over, add the butter and capers to the skillet, and cook until the scallops are cooked through, about 2 minutes.
Remove the scallops to a paper towel lined plate and allow to drain.
Continue cooking the capers until browned and crisp and then remove to the plate with the scallops.
Mound the fennel on a serving platter and top with the sliced blood orange, scallops, capers, green olives and pistachios. Serve immediately.
Inspired by Food & Wine
Wine Pairings for Seared Scallops with Fennel & Blood Orange:
- Pinot Gris has a great acidity to it which pairs nicely with the blood oranges in this dish.
- Rosé wine has a hint of berries and a nice body which pairs well with the delicate flavors of the scallops and fresh fennel.
Are you a fennel fan too? Here are some other great recipes to try:
- Fresh Linguini with Roasted Fennel
- Fennel & Celery Salad (one of my favorites!)
- Fennel & Salami Bites (a super easy appetizer)
- Grilled Kale Caesar Salad with Fennel
- Sausage & Fennel Ragout