Entree, Food, Recipes, Seafood

Scallops with Brown Butter Pistachio sauce, in Puff Pastry Case

Scallops with Brown Butter Pistachio sauce, in Puff Pastry Case Ronit PensoThis dish is as easy to make as it is impressive. Although it requires last minute baking and cooking, most of it can be prepared ahead and the actual cooking and assembly time is very short.

Brown butter sauce is one of the simplest yet tastiest sauces around, and its nutty flavor complements the scallops’ sweetness beautifully. The lemon rounds the buttery flavor, the pistachios enhance the nuttiness and add crunchiness to the sauce, and it all blends wonderfully with the flaky puff pastry case.
For this sauce, I preferred not to clarify the butter, as the browned milk solids in the butter add both flavor and texture to it. If you prefer to use clarified brown butter, check for instructions under TIPS or under THIS RECIPE.
The classic crisp and flaky puff pastry case, or Vol-au-vent, is wonderful for serving dishes with sauce. It can be prepared in many shapes and sizes, and is perfect for desserts as well as for savory dishes.
For best results, use homemade or good quality store bought all-butter puff pastry, keep it cold until ready to use, and bake it as close to serving as possible.

Puff Pastry Cases
Makes: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes; chilling time: 1 hour
Baking time: about 15 minutes; drying time: 5-10 minutes
2  7”(18cm) x 5.5”(14cm) all-butter puff pastry rectangles
1 egg

1. Place the puff pastry on a lightly floured work space. Whisk the egg and brush the dough all over with it.
2. Cut 4 0.4”(1cm) strips of dough, from the shorter side of each rectangle. Create a rim by placing one strip of dough on each edge of the dough (which now is a square).
Place on a baking pan lined with baking paper and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Puff Pastry Case Ronit PensoPuff Pastry Case Ronit Penso
3. Preheat the oven to 400F (205C). Prick the chilled dough with a fork on the corners and the center, and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cases are golden and puffed.
Puff Pastry Case Ronit PensoPuff Pastry Case Ronit Penso
4. Take out of the oven and turn off the oven. Let cool for a minute and then carefully cut around the inside square, making sure not to cut all the way through. Carefully remove the center square and place it on the baking pan, upside down.
Place back in the the oven for 5-10 minutes, to dry the inside of the pastry case and crisp the top layer. Meanwhile, prepare the scallops and sauce.
Puff Pastry Case Ronit PensoPuff Pastry Case Ronit Penso

Scallops with Brown Butter Pistachio Sauce
Makes: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
For the scallops:
10 medium fresh scallops, at room temperature
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter, soft
For the brown butter pistachio sauce:
1.5 oz (40 grams) butter, soft
1/3 cup lightly roasted natural pistachios, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Dash cayenne

1. The scallops: Wash the scallops and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with a bit of salt.
2. Heat the oil and butter on medium-high heat in a frying pan large enough to contain the scallops in one layer. Add the scallops and fry gently until they brown a bit on each side, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Remove from the pan, place on a warm plate and keep in a warm place until the sauce is done.
4. The sauce: prepare all the ingredients for the sauce.
Scallops with Brown Butter Pistachio sauce Ronit PensoScallops with Brown Butter Pistachio sauce Ronit Penso
Melt the butter in a small pan on medium-high heat. Once large bubbles start to appear, lower the heat to medium-low. Keep an eye on the butter at this stage, as it can burn quickly.
Scallops with Brown Butter Pistachio sauce Ronit PensoScallops with Brown Butter Pistachio sauce Ronit Penso
When the color turns brown, about 1 minute, add the pistachios, garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper and cayenne.
Scallops with Brown Butter Pistachio sauce Ronit PensoScallops with Brown Butter Pistachio sauce Ronit Penso
Swirl together and pour over the scallops.
Scallops with Brown Butter Pistachio sauce Ronit Penso
5. Fill the pastry cases with the scallops and sauce and serve immediately.
Scallops with Brown Butter Pistachio sauce, in Puff Pastry Case Ronit Penso

45 thoughts on “Scallops with Brown Butter Pistachio sauce, in Puff Pastry Case”

  1. The way yo’ve described the brown butter sauce leaves no doubt that I want to taste it. I have bookmarked the recipe. Thank you very much.


  2. Wow, Ronit…this is an impressive dish. I love that the ingredient list is fairly short, yet the flavors sound fabulous! The sauce sounds like the perfect accompaniment to the scallops. I’m thinking mini pastry cases with one scallop each would make a perfect appetizer. Thanks for sharing, yet another, great recipe. 🙂


    1. Thank you Nancy! Glad to see you back!:)
      The brown butter sauce is really great with scallops, and I was happy with the pistachios in it. The pastry can indeed be made in any size or shape you want it. I’ve recently made small triangles that were perfect for one scallop, but alas it was not the right place to take photos…
      Hope you’ll enjoy the results. I’ll be happy to hear about it. 🙂


    1. Thank you Indu!
      The pastry cases are fun to make and are tasty in their own right. Scallops are my favorite seafood. They have such a fresh, sweetish flavor and wonderful texture. I’m sure you’ll love them once you’ll try. Just remember they need a very short cooking time, as otherwise the texture can turn rubbery.


        1. Oh, then in this case you will enjoy the home cooked even more, because even in the best places it still takes time until they are served, and at home you can have them right out of the pan and the difference is huge! 🙂


  3. Ronit I’ve been looking at this recipe for some time now, it’s the pastry…you think I could replace the scallops and add some mince meat instead? You know I wanted to use this pastry for something more “French”, sort of meat wrapped with pastry. Oh my boyfriend would be so happy if I made something like that. It’s a great recipe you shared here!


    1. The pastry “box” can be filled with just about anything you have in mind, including fruits or pastry cream.
      I would cook the meat separately and combine all in the last minute, as I have done here with the scallops. This way the pastry stays nice and crunchy.
      Good luck and I’ll be happy to hear about your experiments. 🙂


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