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Seared Scallops on Black Quinoa with Pomegranate Gastrique

Jun 03, 2015 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Rhea’s Rundown

This gorgeous vegetarian-friendly dish combines quinoa tossed in olive oil, chives, and shaved fennel, and scallops finished with a gastrique made of honey, sherry vinegar, pomegranate juice, and vegetable broth. Forte recommends the creaminess of scallops, which contrasts well with the tart gastrique, but other proteins can be used. She also recommends the addition of feta for those wanting a bit of a salty bite. I used rainbow quinoa instead of black, as it was not available at Whole Foods. Pomegranate juice was also unavailable, but they did have pomegranate arils, which I made my own juice from using a fine-mesh sieve. Just for fun, I tossed my quinoa in a blood orange infused premium olive oil (from Season’s Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom). Remember: pat the scallops dry beforehand and sear them in hot liquid for the best results. (See number four in the directions.)

Ingredients – Serves 4
  • 16 large scallops
  • 1 cup black quinoa
  • 1½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee, or more as needed
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Handful of microgreens

Pomegranate gastrique:
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth


1. Remove scallops from the refrigerator and let them rest at room temperature.

2. To make the gastrique, in a saucepan over medium heat, warm the honey and vinegar, stirring to combine.  Add the pomegranate juice, bring the mixture to a gentle boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth and reduce in half again, another 6 to 8 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

3. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer.  In a saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer over medium heat; add the quinoa, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, 16 to 18 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, remove the fronds from the fennel and reserve a small handful. Core and slice the fennel bulb as thinly as possible, using a mandoline if you have one. Coarsely chop the reserved fronds. Once the quinoa is cooked, transfer it to a mixing bowl. Add the fronds, the sliced fennel bulb, olive oil, and chives to the quinoa and stir.

4. Pat the scallops completely dry and sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper.  Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add as many scallops as will fit in the pan while leaving 1=2 inches between them. Cook for 3-4 minutes, flip and cook on the other side until a crust as formed and the scallop starts to pull away from the pan, about 2 to 3 minutes more, depending on the size of the scallops.  The key to getting a good crust on the scallops is to make sure they are close to room temperature and completely dry when they hit the hot pan. Don’t touch them besides flipping them once. There is no need to stir them around; that’s when things get messy. Repeat with the remaining scallops, adding a bit more coconut oil to the pan if it all has been absorbed.

5. Stir the pomegranate seeds and microgreens into the cooked quinoa mixture, adding salt and pepper to taste.

6. To serve, divide the quinoa salad and scallops among four plates and drizzle each serving with the gastrique. Garnish with chives and serve immediately.

Forte, Sara. “Seared Scallops on Black Quinoa with Pomegranate Gastrique.” The Sprouted Kitchen: a tastier take on whole foods. Ten Speed Press, Random House, Inc. New York. 2014. Print.

Rhea Torreon
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