Seared Scallops with Dried Plum Sauce — And What It Took to Make It

Seared Scallops with Dried Plum SauceMy fire alarm shrilled.  Tour, my sweet pup, cowered in the corner, his little body shaking with fear as it always does when the smoke detector goes off.

“This better be worth it,” I thought as I walked over to the alarm and wildly waved a dishtowel to clear the smoke away.

Here’s a bit of background on the recipe —

The inspiration for this recipe came when my mom mentioned last week that she had made something she thought I would like.  “I put some prunes in a small pot and boiled them until they were soft,” she explained. “Then I pureed them with the hand blender and poured the sauce over Brie cheese to bring to a Super Bowl party your father and I attended.”

A super simple, slighty sweet sauce? That did sound good. My recipe-creation brain started whirring. What else could I put the sauce over?  Brie cheese is a wonderful treat – but a lousy foundation for a recipe on a paleo blog.  Crackers, which my mom also said she used, were also out. Chicken and pork didn’t seem right.   I wanted something buttery and rich.  A few days later, I realized scallops would be perfect.

All was well, until I went to Whole Foods and almost passed out.  Scallops were $24.99 per pound!  They were big, lovely scallops, but that’s a lot of money.  I scaled back my plan to make a six-scallop entrée for Matt and I to making us each a three-scallop appetizer.

As I picked up the prunes, I realized there was another problem — an image problem.  A recipe that included “boiled prune sauce” was not going to be a hit on the blogosphere.  On the spot, I re-branded it “dried plum sauce.”  Much better.

Everything went smooth until the fire alarm situation occurred. There’s got to a way to sear something without setting off our fire alarm.  I’m pretty sure turning on the exhaust fan would be a good first step.  But I never remember to do that until I notice the cloud spreading across the ceiling and the alarm blaring.

Once I waved the smoke away from the detector and turned on the fan, everything else fell into place.

And once I put the first bite into my mouth, I swooned.  It was SO worth it.  If you love someone, make these for them for Valentine’s Day.

Seared Scallops with Dried Plum Sauce

Dried plums, 3

Water, 1 cup + extra as needed

Ghee, 2 tablespoon

Salt, 1/2 teaspoon

Pepper, 1/2 teaspoon

Garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon

Scallops, 6

  1. Cut dried plums into quarters.  Add to small saucepan with 1 cup water.  Turn heat to high and boil dried plums for 10-15 minutes until soft, then remove from heat.
  2. Using hand blender or food processor, puree mixture until smooth.  Add extra water as needed to make sauce smooth and slightly runny.  Set aside.
  3. Combine garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel.  Then sprinkle spices on both sides of scallops, using up all the spices.
  5. Place ghee in a small skillet on stove.  Turn heat to high – and turn on exhaust fan if you have one.  Once ghee is melted and super hot, place scallops in the pan.  Let them sear for 2 minutes without moving them.  Flip and sear for two minutes on the other side.  Remove from heat.  They will continue cooking a bit, so don’t worry if they are slightly translucent still in the middle.   Note: The scallops I used were about 1 or more thick.  If yours are smaller, you may need to reduce cooking time.
  6. Remove scallops from pan.  Add dried plume puree, mixing with ghee remaining in pan.
  7. When mixed, use sauce to top scallops.  Serve immediately.

2 thoughts on “Seared Scallops with Dried Plum Sauce — And What It Took to Make It

  1. Hi MC. Sounds delicious. When you refer to ghee, are you referring to something specific or any type of fat (butter, coconut oil, etc.)?


    • Ghee is basically just clarified butter. It’s considered a great fat for paleo cooking, because all the milk proteins have been removed, leaving just a room temperature stable fat that doesn’t oxidize at high temperatures (such as when frying hot enough to set off your smoke detector.)

      Obviously, you can use what ever kind of fat you want. :) I’m not usually too particular, other than not wanted to cook with olive oils at high heats. For this recipe though, I really wanted the buttery flavor and had ghee in the house. Butter from grass-fed cows would be another excellent option.

      Thanks for the great question. If you try a different fat, let me know how it turns out!

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