The local season for bay scallops on the east coast starts in late fall and continues until the scallops run out in February or March. The brightness of the ginger orange sauce here works perfectly with the pristine scallops to balance the richness, accompanied by some quick-cooking bok choy. In recent years, there has been fewer scallops harvested and so the price tends to soar unfortunately. You can usually feed 4 people with a pound, or 1/2 pound for 2. Serve over jasmine rice flavored with a little coconut oil and butter.
2 or 3 bunches of baby bok choy, end of bulb sliced off, leaves rinsed
1cup fresh orange juice (from 3 juicy oranges)
4 ginger coins, sliced from peeled fresh ginger
2 1/2 tablespoons butter (divided)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Orange slices, sliced
Remove the tiny side muscle where sand can hide and rinse the scallops. Dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
In a skillet, sauté the bok choy until wilted, but still crunchy. Set aside.
Start the sauce by adding the fresh orange juice and ginger coins to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then simmer on medium-high for about 6 to 8 minutes to reduce to about 1 /2 cup. Remove ginger coins and remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces, and swirl off the heat, stirring with a whisk or wooden spoon until butter is incorporated and sauce is nicely thickened.
If using 1 pound of scallops, heat two cast-iron or thick-bottom pans over medium-high heat. (Two pans helps scallops brown nicely.) Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat. Sear scallops on one side, about 2 minutes, until golden. Season with salt and pepper as you are cooking. Turn and sear the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more.
Rewarm the bok choy and then place in the center of the plate with jasmine rice. Divide scallops onto 4 plates. Spoon the sauce around the scallops. Garnish with a slice from an orange.
Catherine Walthers, Bluedot’s food editor, is a Martha’s Vineyard-based writer, culinary instructor, and private chef. A former journalist, she is the author of 4 cookbooks, including Kale, Glorious Kale, Soups + Sides, and Raising the Salad Bar. She wrote an environmental guidebook called A Greener Boston published by Chronicle Books in 1992. Follow her on Instagram @catherine_walthers.