I can’t remember exactly when it all went south, but for the last fifteen or so years I have avoided scallops. I think at some point I ordered them at a restaurant and they were served nearly raw and as a result, I was convinced that scallops were the only seafood that I did not like. About a month ago, however, that changed completely. I had dinner at my in-laws house, and my brother-in-law made scallops. I did not want to be rude and share my dislike of this particular mollusk, so I bit my tongue and ate dinner with everyone. They were delicious! Since that evening, I have been head over heals in love with this new delight.
This past weekend I pan seared some of these decadent beauties and made a sauce using white wine, tomato sauce and the juice of a meyer lemon. A meyer lemon tastes like it is half lemon and half orange, and consequently is less tart than a traditional lemon. I added the scallops back to the pan after making the sauce to allow them to finish cooking. I completed the dish with some minced flat leaf parsley.
I paired this meal with a wonderful white wine that I got on my recent trip to Paso Robles. The 2010 Marsanne from Tablas Creek was a perfect match for this dish. The wine was medium bodied, creamy with hints of apricot and honeydew melon, and enough acidity to hold up to the sauce. This grape originated in the Rhone region of France and is commonly blended with Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Roussane. I rarely see this varietal on its own which is a shame because it is lovely. For those who have not yet tasted marsanne, it lies somewhere in between a Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in terms of body and acidity levels, but its flavors are unique. Tablas Creek makes their wines using minimal oak influence so that the beauty of the grape shines through in the wines. Read more about my visit to Tablas Creek here.
In addition to the scallops, I grilled some jumbo shrimp and they were a perfect match for the Marsanne as well. I plan to enjoy this wine again during the heat of summer when there is nothing more refreshing than a cool glass of white wine while lingering over a quiet dinner on our porch.
Tablas Creek makes another lovely white wine that would pair well with this kind of seafood if you can’t find the marsanne. The Cotes de Tablas Blanc ($27) is a blend of several grapes, including some marsanne, and may be easier to find at your local wine shop or restaurant.
There is one thing to be cautious about when buying scallops. There are two kinds according to Wikipedia: “Scallops that are without any additives are called “dry packed”, while scallops that are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) are called “wet packed”. STPP causes the scallops to absorb moisture prior to the freezing process, thereby getting a better price per unit of weight”
I would avoid the wet scallops because of the chemical additives and apparently this treatments make it difficult to get a nice sear which adds great flavor to your dish. Bon appetit!