Sea Scallops with Fennel, Blood Orange and Sauce Maltaise

The Zen-man always keeps his promises… and if he doesn’t he’s likely to ignore you when you remind him he’s made one. Yup, that’s just another way of sayin’ he can be full of s**t sometimes but today he’s rather full of sea scallops and willing to share the recipe with you as promised in the last post – which bring us back to the initial bold statement: The Zen-man always keeps his promises. Look at this baby!

Since the season for blood orange is so short it’s always nice to showcase them whenever you can and there’s no better way than to pair them with sea scallops in my opinion. A lot is going on here but at least it’s all going in the same direction (..and toward a fat raise i hope!). There are blood orange segments in the salad and as a garnish, more blood orange juice reduced to a glaze – half of it is used in a orange-sesame vinaigrette, the other half in the Maltaise sauce which is a lighter version of Hollandaise with blood orange juice and zest instead of lemon (comes from Escoffier, try it on steamed asparagus too). The salad is fresh and crisp with raw fennel sliced paper thin and fresh herbs. I think it works.

Sea Scallops w/ Sauce Maltaise
(serves 4)
  • Zest of 1 blood orange
  • 1 1/4 cup blood orange juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt & cayenne pepper
  • 12 sea scallops, cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons XV olive oil
  • 3 cups mixed greens and herbs (tarragon, dill..)
  • 3 blood orange segments
  • 4 ounces fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced


  1. Combine the zest and orange juice in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced to 3 or 4 tablespoons. It should form a glaze.
  2. Mix the egg yolks with 2 tablespoons water and place on top of a double boiler over simmering water. Beat with a whisk until foamy and thick. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter, whisking after each addition to incorporate. Season with salt and cayenne pepper, add up to 2 tablespoons of reduces blood orange juice, and set aside.
  3. Season the scallops with salt and cayenne. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the butter and sear the scallops on each side until browned. About 2 minutes per side.
  4. Combine the remaining reduced orange juice, rice vinegar and sesame oil and whisk in the olive oil. Dress the salad and sliced fennel and season to taste. Top with orange sections. Serve with the scallops and the sauce and drizzle with a little bit of dressing.

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  • Manggy

    Thank you for keeping your promise! I think I’ve died and gone to heaven– Scallops are one of my top 5 favorite foods, ever. I am going to break open my Escoffier book and see what other gems are in there! Oh, and I am giving you a hug just to annoy you! Hahah 😛

  • canarygirl

    Good Lord, that is one gorgeous plate of food, man. I have yet to try a blood orange. Depraved, I tell you. Depraved. Sorta. Is there anything that would work as a substitute? I sort of feel like Nicolas Cage in City of Angels. “Describe the taste of a pear–er blood orange.” The photos are beautiful…and those scallops look absolutely spectacular. I tell you what…I’ll sing in the subway and give you the profits if you feed me. Deal? lmao

  • Peter M

    Zen, you could always become a hand model ala George Costanza!

    I couldn’t wait for this post and I googled Sauce Maltaise which is basically a play on Hollandaise and it also reminds me a bit of Avgolemono.

    The dish lived up to your promise, I can see why they raved about and now I have a new sauce to try, thanks!

  • Elle

    Great. 6:15 am and I’m craving scallops. What am I supposed to do about that? :) I don’t think you’ll need to sing in the subways or become a gigolo (can’t remember the third thing…). You’re too damn good at food.

    Looks fabulous, as usual Zen!

  • Mary Coleman

    This just looks wonderful. I have come across a recipe using pink grapefruit with scallops, but the blood orange idea is much better. Can’t wait to try this one.
    Thanks, Zen!

  • Ann

    YES! This looks absolutely fabulous. Scallops are pure heaven and this dish is definitely in the heavenly realm.

  • Catherine Wilkinson

    Good night Agnes. This is spectacular. The Bossman better give you a raise, stat. I’m making this the next time I’m in trouble and need to bribe someone.

  • Jenny

    Wow, it’s only 8:00am and I’d have this plate for breakfast. Gorgeous! Go fight for your raise, well deserved!

  • Anali

    I’m glad you’re feeling better and you made this divine meal. I love scallops! Hopefully the raise and bonus will be coming soon! Also thanks for the linky love, but my link didn’t go through when I clicked on it. : )

  • TavoLini

    wow–not only does that sound absolutely ridiculously delicious–the colors in that dish just make me smile. Very beautiful!

  • Tartelette

    When we meet (not if) I want you to make me this…pretty please…and I promise to come alone (well, with my fork). I am crushing big time now!!

  • Ryan Placchetti

    Looking smooth here. I like what you did with the white space. Very nicely executed. I can’t even see the brush-strokes.

    Get it?

    It’s art.

  • Kevin

    Those look good and sound tasty. I like the orange, sesame and Maltaise sauce combo. Nice presentation!

  • glamah16

    This is lovely. I’d give you a raise in a minute.

  • Zen Chef

    Manggy! i have a no same-sex hugs policy on this comment room! haha.

    Canary girl. Sure that sounds like a good deal! Start practicing, the more money you make the better the food! hehe

    Peter. Hand model, how come i never thought of that? I’ll add it to my list. hehe

    Elle. You can have scallops for breakfast, why not? Try dipping them in your coffee. hehe

    Mary. Grapefruit would work well too if blood orange is not available.

    Ann. Oh yes it’s right up there! hehe

    Catherine. Good for bribes too! How often do you get in big troubles? haha

    Jenny. Try Scallops and toast next time for breakfast. With some orange juice. That’s called adapting a recipe. hehe

    Anali. I don’t know what’s going on. I typed the correct address a few times and it keeps giving that error message. Is it a glitch with blogger?

    Tavolini. Isn’t it beautiful to look at? hehe

    Tartelette. I hope your husband is not reading this. haha. Big troubles!

    Ryan. Yup, that’s why they call me the Picasso of the kitchen. This is my pretty period. The wild and crazy stuff is coming soon. hehe

    Kevin. I try to keep my job you know. haha

    Yay glamah!! Can you call big bossman and tell him please? :-)

  • Anali

    I think it says “analit” with a “t” instead of “analis” with an “s.”

  • AzAzura

    Model for Underwear catalog… he , he.You might make lots of bucks with your status as celebrity chef cum Undies model.

    I love scallop and I hardly sees any blood orange down here,other citrus I might try.

    Gorgeous pictures Zen , I wish could take pictures like THAT

  • Nina’s Kitchen (Nina Timm)

    Oh my goodness, what a beautiful plate of food. Lovely stuff.

  • Emiline

    Well, I am so impressed. This sounds delicious. I really read through the recipe and studied it. Now I have to find blood oranges. Not bloody likely! Heh.

  • Ellieut

    All I can say is “Wow”. Hey, if you want I can write you a note to give to bossman reminding him you deserve a raise. We can make it look all official :)”Zen Chef, award winning chef of Bossmans house, is in the position of deserving a raise after the glorious and praiseworthy meal he served your clients. I have come to the conclusion the raise should be in the range of 2 1/2 to 3 times his current salary…..”

  • taste memory

    the scallops look crazy good. love the combined efforts in your ingredients & your post is definitely some fun reading~feel like I’m at a dinner party.

    ‘do like that carmelized crust on the scallops!

  • Vicarious Foodie

    If you think blood oranges and sea scallops is a good combo, try blood oranges and vodka! The best!! Just kidding–this looks great. Blood oranges make everything better, in my opinion.

  • Zen Chef

    Anali i just fixed it! i’m a dummy. haha. I kept missing the S.. :-)

    Azura. You can try it with grapefruit too. For the pictures you just need a good camera and good lighting. That’s all.

    Thanks nina!

    Emiline. Really? No blood orange where you are? You have to move to the big city my dear. hehe.

    Ellieut. Yes! you’re hired. I like the way you’re thinking. 2 or 3 times the salary… that’s what i call a raise! hehe

    Taste memory, thanks! and welcome around here.

    Vicarious foodie! Vodka + blood orange = great idea!! Thanks! haha

  • daphne

    that looks fantastic!! ooo.. love this!

  • tigerfish

    Ever since I move out from California, I have not bought jumbo sea scallops and seared them at home! I want to be back in California :O

  • waliz

    like azazura..i couldnt see any blood orange here…sweet or sour?
    if u really become an underwear model one day pls send me a copy…kay?

  • Deborah

    I was just thinking about scallops the other night, and how I was really craving them. This sounds like a true winner!

  • Anali

    Thanks ZC! : )

  • Nicole

    These look absolutely divine! Beautiful. I love sauce Maltaise.
    So happy to have found your site.

  • MyF

    Hi, just came across ur blog from Tigerfish’s site. I like to food here! And love scallops though it’s hard to get those big ones here in Penang… Keep Cookin’!
    ~ Myf~

  • Function of Time

    Zen dahling, Well…did you get the raise or not? The recipe looks good, but I doubt if I’ll make it… you can make it for me however after you dust my house.

  • Ginny

    Delicious! I’ve been looking over your posts and I think I need to become your neighbor! yummy!