French Fridays with Dorie: Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce

If you follow my blog, you know that for my Friday posts, I make a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table as part of an on-line cooking group called French Fridays with Dorie. This is the second recipe in March that I had my doubts about. (The first was the Beggar’s Linguine.)

This week’s recipe was Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce. I love scallops, but I was a little ambivalent about the sauce. Of course, without a sauce, plain seared scallops aren’t necessarily a cookbook-worthy recipe. Dorie described the sauce as aigre-doux, French for sour-sweet. I watched the sugar melt into caramel (sweet) and added the orange juice and white wine (sour) and reduced it to a thick glossy sauce (after the caramel seized up and had to melt down again).

In the end, unfortunately, I found that the sauce had little flavor. Howard is always skeptical of fruit in his food, but he took a taste of the sauce off a spoon before opting to eat his scallops plain. It wasn’t the fruity flavor that caused him to decline, but rather a lack of any spark. I’ll admit that the rewarmed sauce the next night was a little tastier, but I doubt I’ll make caramel-orange sauce again.

On the other hand, the scallops themselves cooked up easily and tastily. Other than a rinse and pat dry, the scallops were ready to cook after a quick tug to remove the little muscle. They seared quickly in hot oil, with a sprinkle of salt and white pepper, cooking for just a few minutes on each side, undisturbed, and they were perfect! Usually, we grill sea scallops, so the bright side of this recipe is a new technique, especially for cold weather cooking when the grill is inaccessible. I’ll have to search out another sauce to top the scallops, or just eat them plain.

Next Friday falls on April Fool’s Day. The selected recipe is quinoa, fruit and nut salad, which I voted for and sounds appealing (no joke). In the meantime, if any of the recipes intrigue you, I recommend that you buy the book. If you’re really ambitious, you can join this cooking group and try a new recipe each week.

Other bloggers are also chronicling their own experiences with this recipe. I always find some extra inspiration from my fellow cooks’ posts. You can check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie.


Posted on 25 March 2011, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. Betsy, your scallops look great and sound delicious. I’m
    sorry they weren’t more to your liking. I’m relatively new to your
    blog and while I don’t often comment I wanted you to know how much
    I appreciate the food and recipes you feature here. You’ve created
    a lovely spot for your readers to visit and it is always a pleasure
    to return. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  2. Sorry you didn’t take to this dish. But, kudos for trying it anyway! Great post!

  3. Sorry you didn’t care for the sauce. We really enjoyed it. I’m also looking forward to next weeks recipe. Happy friday!

  4. You got a great sear on your scallops, and you’re right, any takeaway is good, even if you don’t like every aspect of the recipe. Nice job!

  5. I’m glad you found a new way of preparing scallops – sorry the sauce wasn’t a hit for you. I am so happy about next week’s quinoa salad. Always looking for new ideas on the quinoa.

  6. I voted for quinoa too. I’m looking forward to get back to the program. Good sear on your scallops.

  7. I love scallops! I think I was way too excited at how well they turned out and how good they tasted too give the sauce too much thought. In hindsight, I realise I probably missed the point huh? The sauce was nice drizzled very lightly over the scallops, I dipped one into the sauce and really didn’t like that at all!
    You scallops look great!

  8. Too bad the sauce wasn’t a hit, but at least your scallops came out terrific!

  9. I seasoned my sauce well with salt and pepper after tasting it and that seemed to do the trick. I love that cooking the scallops was actually very easy. Yours look beautifully seared.

  10. Gosh, I’m sorry you didn’t like the sauce, but your scallops look incredible! Such a nice crust on yours :)

  11. I forgot to season my sauce but still thought it was fab! Your scallops look delicious!

  12. My caramel seized up a bit too. I’m sorry you didn’t like the sauce much but I’m glad you tried it! But best of all, you learned a new way to cook scallops. I was thinking of trying them with teriyaki sauce.

  13. I’m going to try this one again. Hopefully my problems with the sauce won’t repeat themselves. If nothing else, your meal looks delicious!

  14. I agree…I like the nice sear on your scallops…makes my mouth water.

  15. I have to say that every FF ends up an adventure in this
    household. Items I think I won’t like end up getting loved, and
    vice versa. This was definitely a page that I would have skipped if
    not for FFWD and my family ended up really liking it, so we were
    delighted. Next week should be very interesting- I did vote for it
    but am not sure I ever cooking this. Nana already found some at our
    local Wegman’s so we are good to go…..

  16. I liked the sauce, but I preferred my scallops plain too. That’s great that you found a new technique to make your scallops! I’m looking forward to the quinoa dish too.

  17. Betsy – My man’s not a big fan of fruit in his food either, and we did feel this sauce was a bit too sweet. Your scallops look beautifully caramelized though!

  18. Your dish looks great! Sorry that the sauce wasn’t more successful/popular – I can’t really comment since I did grapefruit instead of orange so maybe that gave it more of a tang!

  19. Hi, Betsy – thanks so much for the compliment! Putting meals together is the focus of my blog, so it’s nice to know I’m hitting the mark! I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy these very much, but they look beautiful.

  20. Bummer about the sauce! It sounded good … surprised it didn’t have more flavor.

  21. Your scallops look great! Even if you didn’t care for the sauce, I think the scallops were the star of this dish anyway. You’ll just have to keep trying sauce recipes until you find one you like.

  22. I think they turned out great! Sorry you didn’t enjoy it so much. I have a problem with ‘sweet’ and ‘seafood’. Not my bag. But it is quite impressive dish to look at, right? :)

  23. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the sauce, Betsy, but your scallops look delicious.

  24. Your scallops turned out beautifully – it’s too bad you didn’t enjoy the sauce, though. It was a good excuse to indulge in scallops, though!

  25. These look so good. Everyone seems to like the recipe. We are scallop fans so I suspect these would be well received here. You did a great job with your version. It’s a shame you didn’t care for them. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  26. Your scallops turned out beautifully and it sounds like it was an overall success since you discovered a new way to cook them inside. That will be great when its cold out, like you said! Your post made me hungry for scallops of any kind, grilled or pan fried. Yum!

  27. Sorry you didn’t like the sauce. Here’s looking forward to
    next week’s challenge! It’s quite a departure from our usual French
    Fridays fare.

  28. Oh sorry to hear about the sauce, Betsy! I thought it was good and even bought french butter for this recipe. I am looking forward to next Friday’s recipe since I’m kind of obsessed with quinoa :)

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