Noix de Saint Jacques Sauce Orangée sur Lit de Fenouille

Noix de Saint Jacques Sauce Orangée sur Lit de Fenouille, scallops with orange sauce sleeping on a bed of fennel. Sounds rather fancy, in reality it’s quite easy to make. And a corker if you’re into scallops like me. Orange season has begun here in France, and the first bright baubles have made their way from Corsica to our little corner. They smell of sun and alluring gardens, a swirl of the South wafting into my Christmassy kitchen. 

What you’ll need

  • Fat fresh scallops
  • Fennel, cut in thin slices
  • Sunflower seed oil
  • The tiniest sip of dry white wine
  • Clam juice
  • Half an orange
  • A large spoon of fresh icy cold butter
  • Fleur de sel
  • White pepper, ground

How to cook it

Bring water to boil in a wide pan, add the fennel, immediately take off the heat and let sit for five minutes, then strain and arrange on the plates. Put the plates in a warm spot. 

Cut the corail, the pink thing off the scallop, chop it into tiny morsels and set aside.

In a good frying pan (I use copper usually), heat a drizzle of oil and throw in the scallops, reduce to medium temperature. Fry golden one minute each side, season with fleur de sel and pepper and arrange on the plates. Then put the chopped corail into frying pan and deglaze with white wine and add a generous drizzle of clam juice, reduce for a minute and add the juice of half the orange. Let bubble for another minute and take off the heat, then stir in the butter. Continue stirring for about three minutes until you obtain a creamy emulsion. Season if necessary and drizzle over the scallops. Decorate with grated orange peel and fennel leaves. 

How to eat it

A blanc de blanc millésimé, with scallops, that would be a classic.