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An elegant and easy make ahead appetizer or dinner recipe, these Scallops with Cara Cara Gastrique make the most of winter citrus.
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5 from 9 votes

Scallops with Cara Cara Gastrique

The ultimate in a fancy entertaining dish that is much easier and simpler than it sounds! The sauce can be made two days ahead so all you need to do is cook the scallops and assemble!
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: appetizer/ dinner
Cuisine: Contemporary American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 164kcal


  • For the gastrique:
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh cara cara or blood orange juice strained
  • 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken stock
  • For scallops:
  • 2 blood or cara cara oranges peeled and separated into segments
  • ½ cup fresh italian parsley leaves
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 dozen dry boat scallops side muscle removed
  • 1 large bunch asparagus cut into 1 ½ inch lengths
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • For the gastrique:
  • Measure out the sherry vinegar, orange juice and chicken stock and set aside. In a small heavy bottomed saucepan place the sugar. Heat the saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts. When the sugar melts and starts to turn golden, swirl the mixture until all the sugar is melted and the mixture is a nice golden color like honey - about 3- 4 minutes. Add the vinegar. It will sputter and the sugar will harden so don't worry. Add the orange juice and stir until the sugar melts and the mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken sauce and bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook over medium low heat for 12 - 15 minutes until the sauce is reduced to ½ cup. Take off the heat and set aside. (Can be made 2 days ahead - cover and refrigerate if making ahead and re warm before serving).
  • For the salad and scallops:
  • Stack 2 or 3 paper towels on a cutting board and place the scallops on top. Top with another 2 - 3 paper towels. Place the parsley and mint in a small bowl and set aside. Bring a medium sized saucepan of water to a boil. Cook the asparagus for 2 - 3 minutes until the asparagus is tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the asparagus and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet (don't use a nonstick) heat 1 ½ Tbsp. of canola oil until it is hot and the oil shimmers but doesn't smoke. Add the scallops to the pan, spacing them about 1 ½ inches apart. Let cook for 1 - 2 minutes or until scallops easily release from the pan. Turn scallops over and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes until they are browned and caramelized on the bottom. While scallops are cooking, toss the parsley and mint with the remaining ½ Tbsp. of canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Remove scallops from pan and set aside. Turn off the heat and add the asparagus to the pan to re warm.
  • To assemble to salad, place 3 scallops on each of 4 plates. Divide the asparagus and orange sections evenly among the plates and garnish with the parsley and mint. Drizzle with the gastrique and season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve.


Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine. I used cara cara oranges for the gastrique and blood oranges for the salad since that is what I had on hand but you can use either for the sauce or the salad. If using blood oranges, the sauce will be a deeper, richer red color. When searing scallops the key is to make sure your scallops are very dry and that your pan is very hot!


Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 1040IU | Vitamin C: 46.4mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1.2mg