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Atlantic Sea Scallops with Saffron Potatoes and Blood Orange–Meyer Lemon Salsa

Shimon and Tammar Rothstein

Servings: 6

I love the colors of this Sicilian-inspired dish—the deep-red, orange, and yellow tones of the salsa spooned over those white scallops and over the mounds of sienna-hued potatoes remind me of an Italian vacation. I was never a big fan of scallops until I tasted the super-sweet, succulent, meaty East Coast diver-caught ones we are lucky enough to get from Steve Connolly in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Seek them out—they are so worth it! This preparation would also work beautifully with halibut, sole, or other white flaky fish.

This recipe is excerpted from The A.O.C. Cookbook. Read our review.


  • 6 branches rosemary, about 7 to 8 inches long
  • 18 Atlantic sea scallops, each about 2 oz.
  • 1 Tbs. Meyer lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. finely diced shallots
  • 1 Tbs. champagne vinegar
  • 2 Meyer lemons
  • 3 large blood oranges
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. sliced mint
  • 1 tsp. saffron threads
  • 2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1 Tbs. thyme leaves
  • 1 chile de árbol, crumbled
  • 2 oz. young dandelion greens or arugula
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Remove the rosemary leaves from the branches except for 2 inches at the bottom of each. Cut the leafless end of each branch at an angle with a sharp knife to make a point and coarsely chop the picked rosemary leaves. Season the scallops with the lemon zest and 1-1/2 Tbs. chopped rosemary. Skewer three scallops onto each rosemary branch. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Place the shallots, champagne vinegar, and a healthy pinch of salt in a small bowl, and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut away the stem and blossom ends from the Meyer lemons. Stand the lemons on one end, and cut them vertically into 1/8-inch slices (keeping the rinds on). Stack the slices in small piles on a cutting board, and cut them lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks. Line up the matchsticks, and cut them into 1/8-inch cubes.
  • Cut away the stem and blossom ends from two blood oranges. Place the oranges cut-side down on a cutting board. Following the contour of the fruit with your knife, remove the peel and cottony white pith, working from top to bottom, and rotating the fruit as you go. Then hold the oranges in your hand, one at a time, and carefully slice between the membranes and the fruit to release the segments in between. Add the diced lemon, blood-orange segments, their juices, and the juice of the remaining orange to the shallot mixture. Stir in 1/2 cup olive oil, the mint, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper.
  • Light the grill 30 to 40 minutes before cooking, and take the scallops out of the refrigerator. Place the saffron in a small bowl, and pour 1 cup warm water over it.
  • Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat for 1 minute. Swirl in 1/4 cup olive oil, and wait 1 minute. Add the onion, thyme, chile, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grindings of black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium, and sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is translucent. Turn up the heat to medium- high. Add the potatoes and 2 Tbs. of olive oil, and season with 1 tsp. salt and a few grindings of pepper. Don’t stir the pan for a couple of minutes while the potato edges sear in the hot oil and form a nice crust. Lift and tilt the pan to distribute the oil evenly. After 3 to 4 minutes, firmly shake the pan to loosen the potatoes. Turn with a wooden spoon and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring to coat with the onions.
  • Add the saffron water. Stir to combine, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely glazed and tender when poked with a paring knife. If at any point the liquid starts to dry up, add a little more water. The saffron potatoes should be glazed, neither dry nor soupy. Turn off heat, and put the lid halfway on. When the coals are broken down, red, and glowing, brush the scallops with remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the skewered scallops on the grill, and cook for 4 minutes, rotating once to create crosshatch marks and a browned crust. Flip the scallops, move them to a cooler side of the grill, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until they’re medium-rare.
  • Spoon the hot saffron potatoes into the center of six dinner plates, scatter the dandelion, and place the scallop skewers on top. Spoon the blood-orange–Meyer-lemon salsa over the scallops.


Mexican diver-caught scallops are a good alternative to the Atlantic sea scallops.Excerpted from The A.O.C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin. Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Goin. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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