Seared Scallops with Pinot Gris Butter Sauce


Hugh Acheson (a F&W Best New Chef 2002) of Five & Ten restaurant and Gosford Wine in Athens, Georgia, flavors shallots with butter and Pinot Gris to create a sauce for scallops: "Pinot Gris loves shellfish," he says.

Seared Scallops with Pinot Gris Butter Sauce
Photo: © Quentin Bacon
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
50 mins


  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts

  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 medium shallots, minced

  • 2 cups Pinot Gris

  • 2 thyme sprigs

  • 1 cup fish stock

  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

  • 1 tablespoon minced chives

  • Salt and ground pepper

  • 1 packed cup baby spinach

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 16 large sea scallops

  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes (optional)


  1. In a skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat until golden, 2 minutes; transfer to a plate and let cool. Lightly crush the nuts.

  2. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until browned, 4 minutes. Add the wine and thyme; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 15 minutes. Add the stock and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 9 minutes longer. Add the cream, bring to a boil and remove from the heat.

  3. Strain the wine sauce into a clean saucepan. Whisk in the butter, 4 pieces at a time, until the sauce is thickened and smooth; set the pan over low heat as necessary to help melt the butter. Stir in the chives and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

  4. In a medium bowl, toss the spinach with the lemon juice and the remaining olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

  5. In the skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Season the scallops with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned but barely cooked through, 2 minutes per side. Transfer the scallops and spinach to plates. Garnish with the pine nuts and pepper flakes. Gently reheat the sauce, spoon on top and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Look for a Pinot Gris from Oregon or California.

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