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Scallops with Sautéed Spinach


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Rate this recipe 4.7/5 (23 Votes)


  • For Scallops:
  • 10 to 12 sea scallops
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • For Spinach:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1 large or 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bag baby spinach [6 to 8 ounces]



Step 1

Rinse scallops to remove any grit. If your scallops have white, sinewy looking pieces on the side, trim them off with a sharp knife; this is the foot that attached it to the shell. Blot scallops dry with paper towel and arrange on plate with flat sides up. Season with salt, pepper and half of tarragon. If tarragon flakes are large, crumble slightly in your hand. Turn scallops over and season other side. Dredge just the flat surfaces of scallops [tops and bottoms, not sides] lightly in flour.

Heat a large [12”] non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter, swirling pan to melt butter and mix it with oil. Gently plop scallops, flat side down, into pan. Sauté on one side for no more than 2 minutes, then turn them over. They should be nice and browned. Sauté for 1-1/2 minutes on other side, then transfer to plate and tent with foil.

Pour brandy into skillet and let it boil down for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping up any browned bits with spatula. (Brandy has a high enough alcohol content that some cooks advocate removing the pan from the flame when you first add brandy to a hot pan. Other cooks advocate actually igniting the brandy in the pan with a match, an entertaining spectacle called flambéing.)

Meanwhile, right after turning on the flame under the scallops pan, turn a medium flame on under a large, heavy dutch oven or pot for the spinach. You want it ready to go right after you’ve put the scallops into the other pan. Melt the remaining butter into the olive oil in the pot. Add the garlic and stir until it is fragrant, 45 seconds or so. Then add the spinach and toss it with the butter, oil and garlic. Here’s why you need the big pot: The spinach will start out HUGE and need to cook down. Add half the spinach at first, if necessary, and as it begins to reduce in volume, add the rest. After it’s all been coated with the butter and oil mixture, cover the pot and turn off the heat. It will continue to wilt and cook in the heated pan.

When the brandy has reduced somewhat, toss the spinach once more, then divide it between two plates. Arrange the scallops on the beds of spinach. Drizzle the brandy sauce over the scallops and serve.

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