Mind over Mollusk – Scallops in Tarragon Brown Butter Sauce

While tempting to tell you all about our journey into Colonial food for the kiddos’ Colonial festival, I’ll spare you all the gory details of onion pies and transparent puddings!  Suffice it to say that pilgrim-esque cooking is not my gig and so I’m glad I wasn’t drafted for the Mayflower.

My little mind is also flirting with the idea of pumpkin pie (we made one fresh from the adorable little pie pumpkins they have at Trader Joe’s these days), but there are a bazillion other blogs out there this time of year talking turkey and pie.

I could also go all persimmon on you since we have been inundated with those little gems these past few weeks, but the truth is, as hard as we have tried, none of us really likes them.  I want to like them, I really do.  But sadly they just don’t do it for me.

So I’ll hang on that little segue and get to the point of scallops.  Like the persimmon, I have never truly enjoyed scallops.  Shrimp – no problem.  Lobster – ok, twist my arm.  Clams – yep, especially if they are fried.  But the scallop, ummm, pass.  There’s just something about the texture, the concept, the appearance that creates a mental barrier for me.  The stomach wants to, but the brain isn’t cooperating.  Then last week I had this weird out of body experience while strolling through Costco (yes, we’re back on speaking terms again) and a strange voice in my head said, “Hey, don’t those scallops look good?”  I looked around to see who was commenting on the crustacean only to realize it was my very own inner voice.  I looked to the kids and threw out the crazy idea that we try some, half expecting full veto.  Nope, they were all on board.  Maybe had I said, “How about we cook up some bi-valve mollusks for dinner tonight?” I could have swayed the vote a bit more.  But by the time I had retraced my steps and thought of that approach, the exoskeleton-bearing aquatic invertebrates were already in my cart.

Wouldn’t you know, that evening, the Hubs had a last minute meeting come up.  Great . . .there I was cooking scallops -which I don’t even like – for a 10 year old, an 8 year old, a 4 year old, and a 2 year old!  Why didn’t I just roll an extra math lesson into dinner and call it a real party?!  After sifting through a few recipes, I decided that simple was best for this little seafood saga.  Scallops in Tarragon Brown Butter Sauce it was, and off we went.

We started by generously salting and peppering the little guys.


Then, we heated a bit of olive oil in a large skillet and added the scallops.  We let them cook until golden brown on one side (about 4 minutes), and then flipped them and added some butter and a few sprigs of fresh tarragon.  The tarragon had come in our weekly produce box and was just lovely.



We let the second side cook for another 4 minutes or so, just until the butter was browned and started to small kind of nutty  Finally we mixed in a little fresh lemon juice.  We served everything up with some mashed sweet potatoes, sauteed summer squash & French bread (for dipping in the brown butter sauce, of course).


Overall not a bad reception – loved by the 10 year old, luke warm reception by the 8 year old, eaten by the 2 year old, and the 4 year old?  Let’s just say lots of sweet potatoes and squash were consumed by a certain someone at the table.  As for me . . .  well, my inner-voice was leading me in the right direction (and for once it wasn’t toward chocolate).  I enjoyed the little mollusks after all!

Here’s the complete recipe for Scallops with Tarragon Brown Butter Sauce.

And for your browsing pleasure, here are a few more scallop recipes:

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