Scallops in Spicy Orange Sauce

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Don’t be fooled by their elegant appearance, Scallops in Spicy Orange Sauce are a delicious, sassy meal with a glorious citrus kick.

Scallops in a Spicy Orange Sauce | | Don't be fooled by their elegant appearance, Scallops in Spicy Orange Sauce are a delicious, sassy meal with a glorious citrus kick.

Have you ever had a thought, which led to another thought, which led to a craving, which wouldn’t go away until it was satisfied?

Last time we met, I explained the reasons that I don’t put up many recipes with fish in them. During our chat, I included scallops as one of the foods upon which the three of us couldn’t agree.

That brief  mention put scallops in my mind and on my taste buds and I knew I’d have to have them … sooner than later. Luckily my grocery store had them on sale last week so I snatched up a half pound and headed to the kitchen.

The Process

Because scallops are often featured in high end restaurants, a single one artfully arranged on a plate with a pile of garnish atop it and a sauce surrounding it, cooking them at home can be a bit intimidating.

The secret is in making sure that the skillet is hot, very hot. That’s why the first instruction is to heat the olive oil on high until it just begins to smoke. Considering that olive oil has a higher smoke point (405°) than canola oil (400°), that’s hot.

After the oil is hot and the scallops are added, the next secret comes into play. In order to keep the scallops from sticking, leave them alone. If handled too soon, they’ll hang on to the skillet and cause a mess. If given the chance to sear well and develop the crisp, browned edges, they’ll release from the pan much more easily. Flip them, and cook them until they’re a nice white color.

I moved the cooked scallops to a plate, return the skillet to the heat, turned down the burner and added all the sauce ingredients except the wine and butter. It took my sauce about 15 minutes to simmer down to a point where I thought it was thickened enough, so then I whisked in the wine and butter and simmered it a bit more.

The Verdict

As I mentioned before, I’m the only one that likes these and that didn’t change with this recipe.

Sophie tried a small bit and wasn’t impressed with the scallops or the sauce. Doug tried a scallop. He wasn’t thrilled with the seafood but he thought that the sauce was ‘awesome.’ I think if it had been on fish or shrimp he would have loved the meal.

I thought it was amazing. The zesty, spicy sauce is perfect with the sweet, creamy scallops. Their saltiness played in perfectly with the sauce and made for a perfect meal. It was delicious.

What I’d Do Differently


The Cost

Scallops: $16.99
Orange juice: $1.50
Lime: $1.49
White wine: $7.99

Total: $27.97

Scallops in a Spicy Orange Sauce Recipe

Scallops in Spicy Orange Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Reviewed by:
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound large sea scallops
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon dried red chile flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Coarse sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Lemon peel, for garnish
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on high until it just beings to smoke. Add scallops and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. To the skillet, add the orange juice, lime juice, red chile flakes, cumin and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add wine, salt and butter and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Spoon sauce over the scallops. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lemon rind away from the white membrane. Garnish the scallops with the lemon rind.


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