Brunch, Entree, Food, Recipes, Salad, Sauces, Seafood, Side dishes, Uncategorized

Scallops with lemony cream sauce + Israeli couscous salad

Lemon scallops with Israeli couscous Ronit PensoWhen I found these beautiful fresh wild scallops at the store, I quickly grabbed a few.
They are so flavorful and so easy to prepare. The only concern with scallops is to remember that they are delicate creatures, so you need to cook them gently and quickly, otherwise their texture becomes rubbery. So, make sure to cook them as close to serving time as you can.
Here I’ve paired the scallops with a delicate lemony cream sauce, that complements their natural sweetness. I also added a bit of garlic, thyme and roasted red peppers, for both color and flavor. The result was so good, no doubt I’ll be making this dish again soon. Try it and enjoy.

* I served the scallops are on a bed of Israeli couscous, but they can also be served on their own, or with any other type of small pasta or polenta.

Makes: 2-4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes for the sauce, about 3-4 minutes for the scallops

For the scallops
1 lbs (450 grams) scallops, about 12 large, at room temperature.
1 Tbs butter, soft
1 Tbs light olive oil
For the sauce
2 Tbs butter, soft
1 small clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
1 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tbs fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tsp lemon or lime zest
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For serving:
2 cups cooked Israeli couscous

1. Wash the scallops thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Season with a bit of salt and keep at room temperature.
2. The sauce: mix the butter, oil and garlic in a small pot and cook gently on medium heat, until the butter foams and the garlic is soft and fragrant. Add the red pepper, thyme, lemon juice and zest, mix and cook for 30 seconds. Add the cream, salt and pepper. Mix and cook until the sauce reaches the verge of boiling. Lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the sauce thickens a bit. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Scallops with lemon, thyme and red pepper cream sauce Ronit PensoP1020552P1020553P1020555
3. The scallops: At the last stages of cooking the sauce, melt the butter and oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the scallops. Fry gently, until the scallops are lightly golden on one side, about 1 ½ minutes. Turn gently and fry for about 1 ½ minutes. Add the sauce to the pan and tilt it gently, to coat the scallops with it. Turn off the heat.
4. Place ½ cup of cooked Israeli couscous (instructions below) on each plate. Add the scallops, spoon the sauce on top and around, and serve.

Scallops with lemon, thyme and red pepper cream sauce Ronit Penso

Israeli Couscous
Israeli couscous is actually a type of toasted pasta, but the best way to cook it is to treat it like rice, with measured amount of water. This way of cooking will result al-dente and separated grains.
* The amount given is here more than you will need for serving the scallops, but not to worry, I have another recipe for you below, in which you will put the leftovers to good use. If you don’t feel like making the salad, just cut the ingredients amounts by half.

Makes: 6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
½ small onion, chopped
2 Tbs oil
1 ½ cups Israeli Couscous (here I’ve used Tri-color)
3 cups water
1 tsp salt or to taste
Mix the onion and oil in a medium size pot. Sautee on medium-high heat until the onion is soft. Add the couscous, mix well and fry for 1 minute. Add the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and cover the pot tightly. Cook for 10 minutes and turn the heat off. Keep in the pot, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Israeli couscous Ronit PensoP1020539P1020540Israeli couscous Ronit Penso

Israeli couscous salad
This colorful salad is a great way to use leftover Israeli couscous, or any other small shaped cooked pasta.
Makes: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes

2 cups cooked Israeli couscous (see above), at room temperature
¼ cup chopped mint
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbs chopped thyme
2 Tbs chopped sun dried tomatoes
¼ cup roughly chopped salted black olives
1/3 cup crumbled Feta cheese
¼ cup crumbled fresh goat cheese
2 Tbs lemon zest
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving. Serve at room temperature. The salad will keep, in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 2 days.
Israeli couscous salad Ronit PensoIsraeli couscous salad Ronit Penso Israeli couscous salad Ronit penso

17 thoughts on “Scallops with lemony cream sauce + Israeli couscous salad”

  1. Love, love, love scallops! As a “visual” person when cooking up new recipes, I greatly appreciate the abundance of photos you post. They are a tremendous help in making sure I’m on the right track to success 🙂 This particular dish looks wonderful!


    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I’m glad you liked the recipe and glad to heare the photos help. Taking photos while cooking is sometimes quite a challenge, like here, with these delicate scallops that need very short cooking. But challenges only make it all even more fun.:)


    1. It really just occurred to me that even though I use Israeli couscous a lot, I still didn’t include it in any dish yet, which is a shame, as it is a very useful ingredient in the kitchen. It is very quick to prepare and works well as a side dish or on its own as in the salad here.
      Alas, it’s not Paleo, but “nobody’s perfect!” 😀


  2. Loved everything about this recipe and post! Scallops are always so elegant, and I liked that you paired them with Israeli couscous, a favorite in our home…

    gotta pin this one for the future!


  3. I really enjoy scallops and this is a wonderful way to prepare them. Couscous is such a great side, to begin with, but that salad recipe you’ve shared is a winner. This is one, delicious post! Thanks for sharing.


  4. I have been wanting to cook scallops for a few days now… too bad i just moved away from the Gulf of Mexico (Texas) can’t find fresh scallop here in Kansas. :-/


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