The Best Winter Citrus To Use In Scallop Dishes

The one thing sure to brighten up the brutal chill of winter is the arrival of citrus season, when lemons, limes, and oranges, as well as more exotic specimens, arrive in bulk at your local grocery store. From November through March (via UC Davis), these Vitamin C-rich fruits are available to add jewel-like color and zingy liveliness to any dish.

If you're looking to cook a meal that transports your taste buds all the way from January to July, there's no easier faux summer culinary hack than adding winter citrus to a seafood dish. Scallops, a nutrient-dense source of lean protein (via WebMD), make for a healthy and delicious meal, their briny flavor reminiscent of a beach vacation no matter the season. These pricey bivalves, often reserved for steakhouses and restaurants with a sea view, are surprisingly easy to cook at home, usually seared or grilled with minimal fussing or dressing.

For a luxurious scallop dinner (or an even more lavish lunch), you'll need only a few ingredients, one of which you can find almost anywhere, and which will take your scallops from sea level to cloud nine.

Grapefruit and scallops are a match made in heaven

Grapefruit is commonly used as a pairing with white fish, like cod, halibut, or flounder, either cooked or in ceviche. But it works marvelously well with scallops, with a brightness and bitterness that balance out the briny flavor. Whether you're using sea scallops or bay scallops, farmed scallops or wild scallops, fresh scallops or frozen, a little bit of grapefruit is sure to go a long way towards transforming them into something truly special. "Scallops beg to be paired with acid," explains cookbook author Andy Baraghani in an interview with The Washington Post, "and grapefruit is one of the most complex acids, where it has this sweet tanginess and bitterness at once."

Recipes like this one for Scallops With Fresh Herbs, Pine, Grapefruit, And Geranium offset the oceanic flavor of scallops with the earthiness of pine and tarragon, while this one from Food & Wine pushes the saltiness of the scallops to their limit with bacon and capers. But you can also go extremely simple and really let the seafood and citrus take the lead. Think of it as the Coco Chanel version of cooking etiquette: Before you leave the kitchen, look in the pan and take one thing out.