Tag Archives: scallops

One-Pan Baked Scallops with Couscous, Braised Leeks and Tarragon-Orange Vinaigrette

The fabulous entrée tastes surprisingly complex for the short amount of time it takes to prepare. The scallops and leeks really do release flavor into the couscous, and the vinaigrette definitely completes the dish. It is a great “special occasion” meal that anyone who loves scallops is sure to remember.

Cooking the scallops on a bed of Israeli couscous, leeks, and white wine is easy and allows the pearls of pasta to absorb the scallops’ briny liquid. To ensure the scallops finish cooking at the same time as the rest of the dish, jump-start the leeks and couscous in the microwave, adding garlic and a pinch of saffron* to subtly perfume the dish.

Stir in wine and boiling water (with the blooming saffron, if using), which starts the dish off hot and shortens the cooking time. Using a very hot oven and sealing the pan with foil promises perfectly, and efficiently, cooked scallops that steam atop the couscous. A quick tarragon-orange vinaigrette to drizzle over the finished dish provides an appealing accent that complements the scallops and leeks without overpowering them.

It is recommend that you buy “dry” scallops, which don’t have chemical additives and taste better than “wet.” Dry scallops will look ivory or pinkish; wet scallops are bright white.

TIPS: For an accurate measurement of boiling water, bring a full kettle of water to a boil and then measure out the desired amount. *If using saffron threads, pulverize them in a mortar with pestle and then put them in the hot water to bloom.

One-Pan Baked Scallops with Couscous, Braised Leeks and Tarragon-Orange Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb. leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch saffron threads (optional, *see above tip)
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1½ lbs. large sea scallops, tendons removed
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • ½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. grated orange zest plus 1 Tbsp. juice


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine leeks, couscous, 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and saffron (if using), in a bowl. Cover, and microwave, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in boiling water and wine, then transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
  2. Pat scallops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Nestle scallops into couscous mixture and cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until couscous is tender, sides of scallops are firm, and centers are opaque, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 3 tablespoons oil, tarragon, vinegar, mustard, orange zest and juice, and ⅛ teaspoon salt together in bowl.
  4. Remove dish from oven. Drizzle vinaigrette over scallops and serve, passing extra oil separately.


Adapted from a recipe by America’s Test Kitchen

Mediterranean Shrimp and Scallop Soup

In just over an hours time, you can enjoy this lovely, nutrient-packed Mediterranean soup. We substituted 8 ounces of cod for a half pound of the shrimp, giving us a trio of seafood. Typically, we would use our own homemade shellfish stock, but since we were plum out, we incorporated a mix of bottled clam juice and boxed seafood broth.

First, you’ll give the scallops a quick sear in a hot pan. Next, you’ll sear your shrimp in the same pan for about 2 minutes, you want to see some pink but don’t worry about fully cooking it yet. Remember, you will be adding the seafood to the hot soup later, so don’t overcook the shrimp. In addition to the aromatics and fresh herbs, fresh lemon juice is the perfect finishing touch.

The original recipe indicated that it would take 35 minutes from prep through to finished soup. Unless you are a samurai chef, it’s not possible. It took me at least 35 minutes just to do the prep alone. Plus, more time was needed for the liquid to return to a boil in a couple of instances. So plan on a minimum of about 70 minutes.

We served ours with toasted garlic bread nuggets and a side salad.

Mediterranean Shrimp and Scallop Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 8 oz. sea scallops
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut in 3 pieces each
  • 8 oz. cod, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, chopped
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano, divided
  • 3 8-oz. bottles clam juice
  • 1 qt. seafood broth
  • 2 15-oz cans diced tomato
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill, stems removed
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional


  1. If using scallops, pat them dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Gently add the sea scallops. Sear for about 1 ½ minutes on each side. Scallops should form a golden brown crust. Sprinkle a large pinch of dried oregano. Quarter each scallop and transfer to a dish and set aside for now.
  3. To the same cast iron skillet, add a little more extra virgin olive oil if needed. Again heat over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add the shrimp; sear for about 2 minutes on both sides. You want to see some pink, but don’t worry about fully cooking it (you will finish cooking it in the soup.) Remove from the heat and sprinkle a generous pinch of dried oregano.
  4. In a medium heavy cooking pot, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil on medium-high. Add the chopped peppers, onions, garlic, tomato paste, salt and the remaining dried oregano. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the seafood broth and clam juice and bring to a boil. Add the diced tomatoes. Cook on medium-high for 3-5 more minutes.
  6. When the liquid returns to a boil, add the orzo pasta. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 8 minutes until orzo is tender. Add the cod about 4 minutes after you stir in the orzo.
  7. Stir in the baby spinach, parsley, dill, and lemon juice.
  8. Finally, stir in the scallops and shrimp to warm through (about 1 to 2 minutes.) Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add crushed red pepper flakes for some heat, if you like. Serve with your favorite crusty bread.


Adapted from a recipe by Suzy Karadsheh


Solstice is a seasonally-focused and ingredient-driven modern-American restaurant. They feature fresh, craveable food paired with elevated service in a friendly and approachable environment. Their ingredient-driven menu features various preparations and techniques to bring out the richest, most complex flavors.

Not to mention the cool, hip ambience of the place with on-trend lighting fixtures. Food is juxtaposed with traditional preparations and modern plating with refined execution in their dynamic environment where you can enjoy the best ingredients of the season. And that we did!

Solstice first opened in Newtown, PA in early March 2020 (you probably know where this is going), and then promptly shuttered it’s doors one week later due to COVID-19. By the time they reopened in June and we finally had a chance to make a reservation, it was the very end of July. Better late than never, right?

They are no slouches when it comes to adhering to virus precautions. Masks are correctly worn on all staff; hand sanitizer stations are strategically placed; tables are situated with plenty of room in between; there are QR codes for menus (paper ones available if requested); white-gloved servers bring you food while black-gloved bussers remove table debris; and you pay your tab via mobile technology.

Their bar centers around creative, handcrafted cocktails, which are also updated seasonally. If you’re not in the mood for a spirited drink, they offer an extensive Zero Proof cocktail selection using vitamin-packed aloe juice as the spirit substitution.

We started with a bottle of red cab and chose a few appetizers before the entrées. In fact, while we were waiting for our first course, we were presented with an amuse bouche spoonful of pickled watermelon rind with a feta creme. Classy touch!

As an appetizer, Russ loved his Smoked Salmon Rillette which came plated with a caper-dill sour cream, plum mostarda and three toasted baguette slices. I had a bit, and yes it was delicious.

I was in a greens mode and selected their Solstice Salad comprised of thinly sliced watermelon radish, zucchini, shaved carrots, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, focaccia croutons, parmesan, and egg all topped with a buttermilk-fermented garlic dressing. Just loved it!

The biggest hit of the night was Russ’ main course of Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes. For years we have been on the search to find a comparable crab cake to those we had at Brian’s in Lambertville many, many years ago. Our opinion, these were even better with hardly any filler and loads of lump sweet crab meat loosely formed into patties. The cakes came paired with a delicious kohlrabi coleslaw and a homemade remoulade sauce.

Russ had to call the waitress back because after he’d placed his order, he realized he wanted a side order of their Hand-Cut Fries served in a charming tin cup with two dipping sauces: roasted red pepper ketchup and loaded baked potato aioli. I had a few and must confess, they were the BEST fries in recent memory.

I had been eyeballing several entrées including those crab cakes but finally settled on the Seared Cape May Scallops. While there were only 3 scallops, they were huge, tender and flavorful, just enough for me. The one misstep of the night for me was the side of yellow corn risotto, it was bland and unmemorable. The sea bean salsa verde and passion fruit gelée added delightful hits of flavor.

Another classy touch was the mignardise, a bite-sized dessert served at the end of a meal. In this case, a corn madeleine topped with a white miso caramel. For dessert Russ chose a scoop of gellati and filled out the bottom of the menu card that asks you to describe your favorite seasonal dessert. We immediately thought of his lemon posset topped with fresh blueberries. Who knows, that may get us a future free dinner at Solstice