The Best Scallops Are Cooked Like Steak
There's a lot to love about scallops, but one of their best features is being fast and easy to cook. You can grill them, bake them, poach them, and, as we see in this week's episode of Ludo à la Maison, sear them. Chef Ludo Lefebvre prefers the searing route, as he demonstrates how to make scallop grenobloise. The simple dish, which has less than 10 ingredients, is comprised of scallops in brown butter, lemon, and caper sauce with blanched cauliflower on the side.
Find Lefebvre’s guide and key tips for making scallop grenobloise below, and grab the recipe on his website.
First, Blanch the Cauliflower
Lefebvre removes the leaves from the cauliflower, breaks it down into florets, and then cuts the florets in half. He blanches them gently in hot water—you want the end result to be “barely cooked” and still a little crunchy.
Next, Prep the Scallops ...
Pat the scallops dry and season both sides with salt and white pepper. You can sear them in olive oil or clarified butter—whatever you want—but in this recipe, Lefebvre uses extra-virgin olive oil in a nonstick pan.
… and Cook Them Like Steak
Heat the olive oil to a very high temperature so you can sear the scallops. Lefebvre says you want to cook them medium-rare like steak (he also likes to cook pork chops like steak), so they have a nice crust on the outside but are “barely cooked on the inside” for a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Cook them for two minutes on each side, and add a little butter to the pan for flavor.
Once they’re done, remove them from the heat and place them on plate lined with a paper towel.
Segment the Lemons
Lefebvre’s recipe calls for three lemons, and in the video, he uses Meyer lemons from California, which he says are “not too acidic.” Use a peler à vif technique to remove the skin and segment the lemons, squeezing out juice from the membranes into a bowl.
Lefebvre says the brown butter, caper, and lemon sauce is one he learned in school and is part of the “book of recipes” you need to learn in France. He starts by browning unsalted butter, then adds in capers, salt, and pepper. Next, he deglazes the pan with the lemon juice and segments—voilà, the sauce is ready to go.
When the cauliflower is done blanching, Lefebvre adds it to a plate along with the scallops, and some fresh herbs as well. Once the sauce is ready, he pours it over them and adds lemon zest and fleur de sel for extra flavor. All that’s left to do is enjoy.
To complement his meal, Lefebvre makes a Cou de Chevaux—which means “neck of the horse”—cocktail with very cold Ciroc (a sponsor of his show), club soda, and a little lemon twist.