I finally ate fennel for the first time! Fennel is a plant that has many culinary uses in its different forms (seeds, foliage, and bulb). They're aromatic and taste mildly sweet, peppery, and has a crunchy, celery-like texture. Although I've seen this vegetable used in so many food network shows, I just never got around to trying it myself. Browsing for meal ideas, I found that fennel is often paired with citrus fruits in a salad so I thought making a fennel salad with orange vinaigrette dressing is a good place to start. And I seared some beautiful, meaty jumbo sea scallops to complete the dish. It is the perfect light meal. We actually ate this for dinner and were completely satisfied.
Makes 4 servings
12 jumbo sea scallops
salt and pepper, to taste
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. butter
2 fennel bulbs (sliced)
2 oranges (cut into segments)
1 C. orange juice (about 5-6 oranges)
1/4 C. champagne vinegar
2 shallots (minced)
2 T. honey
2 T. sugar
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 C. extra virgin olive oil
1. Dry scallops with paper towel then season both sides with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil and butter in a medium skillet on medium high heat. Once hot, place 3-4 scallops and sear for about 2 minutes on each side. Don't overcook the scallops because it'll get tough and chewy. You want them to still be a little opaque in the center. Continue to sear the rest of the scallops. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix orange juice, vinegar, shallots, honey, sugar, salt, and pepper. Then slowly whisk in the oil.
4. Toss fennel in the vinaigrette dressing and place a mound on a salad plate. Place 3-4 orange segments around the fennel and top with 3 seared scallops. Drizzle more vinaigrette dressing over the scallops.