Tasting Table National: Scallops with Fresh Herbs

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To learn more about this recipe, see our related story, Coast to Coast, in our National edition. 

Scallops with Fresh Herbs, Pine, Grapefruit and Geranium

Recipe adapted from Matt Lightner, Atera, New York City

Yield: 4 servings

Cook Time: 40 minutes, plus 12 hours of refrigeration


For the scallops:

1 small branch of white pine or spruce, finely chopped

1 cup fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped

1 cup fennel fronds, finely chopped

1 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh yeast, (or 1 teaspoon dried yeast)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons kosher salt

¼ cup cold water

8 scallops


For the grapefruit:

2 medium grapefruits, segmented and juices reserved

1 large rose-geranium leaf

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Kosher salt


Flaky sea salt

Edible flowers

Fresh tarragon


1. In a medium bowl, mix together the pine, tarragon, fennel, dill, yeast, sugar and salt. Add the water, making a paste. Toss the mixture with the scallops and place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for 12 hours.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine half of the grapefruit segments and half of the juice. Add the rose-geranium leaf and cook over low heat until the mixture is reduced and similar in texture to jam, about 7 to 10 minutes. Cool immediately in an ice bath. Discard the rose-geranium leaf and combine the mixture with the remaining grapefruit segments, the grapeseed oil and the vinegar. Season with salt and set aside.

3. Remove the scallops from the refrigerator and gently wipe them with a cloth to remove the excess herbs (do not use water).

4. Bring a gas or charcoal grill or grill pan to high heat. Carefully char the scallops on each side--taking care to mark but not cook them, about 5 to 10 seconds on each side. Remove the scallops from the grill, place on a plate and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Slice the scallops into ¼-inch-thick vertical slices and carefully arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle with the grapefruit mixture and sprinkle with sea salt. Garnish with edible flowers and tarragon leaves. Serve immediately.

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