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Sea Scallops with Orange Tarragon Butter Sauce

Recipe adapted from Kingsford Complete Grilling Cookbook

Like shrimp, sea scallops need very little time on the grill. Unlike shrimp, they donít need deveining, though if you buy scallops whole, they may require shucking. Regardless, grilled sea scallops are worth the effort. They are best served moist, nearly raw in the center, and nicely seared, with grill marks on the outside, which means they should spend only seven minutes on the grill. Complete the dish with this butter sauce; it adds layers of complexity by playing the bitter-citrus flavors of orange zest off the aromatic tarragon.
Serves 4


  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 2 tablespoons tbsp white-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 equal pieces, chilled
    zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon tsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (for sauce)
  • 16 large sea scallops (2 lbs)
  • vegetable oil, for brushing
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (for scallops)


  1. The sauce: Bring the wine, vinegar, and shallots to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook until the liquid has reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, until each piece is almost incorporated into the sauce, before adding the next one. The butter should soften into an ivory sauce—it should not melt. Occasionally remove the saucepan from the stove to monitor the heat. You should finish mixing the butter into the sauce within a couple of minutes. Stir in the orange zest and the tarragon, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the saucepan to a skillet of very hot, though not simmering, water, to keep warm for up to 30 minutes.
  2. Lightly oil the grill grate. Sparingly brush the scallops with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the scallops over high heat, and cover. Cook until the undersides are seared with grill marks, about 2 minutes. Turn, cover, and sear the other sides, about 2 minutes more. Move to the cooler area of the grill, and cover. Grill until the scallops feel firm when pressed, about 3 minutes.
  3. Spoon equal amounts of the sauce on 4 dinner plates. Top each with 4 scallops and serve
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