Friday, November 3, 2017

Scallops with Ginger and Lemon Sauce

I may have mentioned that our town has acquired a new restaurant, The Charred Oak Tavern, in the large space that used to be a cooperative antiques center. It’s smack in the middle of town—where the town sorely needed a new restaurant.

We’ve actually eaten there more than once since it opened in July, with and without guests, because it’s a restaurant that’s pitched exactly right for its customers. It has a large and well-stocked bar (no, that’s not the most important thing) and a menu that is not too fancy for walk-ins, even those with children, but the recipes are carefully chosen and well-prepared. A hamburger there is not just a hamburger—it’s one you will remember and come back for again.

That’s where I ran into this dish. I have to point out that we’re not that far from the ocean here, and fresh scallops are easy to get. What impressed me, though, was that the sauce was not too heavy-handed. If you put citrus and fresh ginger in a dish like this, they can easily overwhelm the delicate flavors of seafood. Not in this case: everything worked together in harmony.

So of course I had to try it. And maybe I’ll have to go back to the restaurant to make sure I got it right, don’t you think? I want to make sure they stick around!

Scallops with Ginger and Lemon Sauce


1 pound large sea scallops
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp peanut oil
2 small shallots, chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tblsp lemon juice
2 Tblsp soy sauce
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 tsp water
1 tsp cornstarch


Pat the scallops dry with paper towels (otherwise they will not brown) and salt lightly. 

Chop the shallots and mince (or grate) the fresh ginger.

Heat the sesame oil and peanut oil in a cast-iron or similar heavy skillet over high heat. Saute the scallops quickly in the hot oil for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Before . . .

and after

Add the chopped shallots to the pan and saute briefly until soft. Then add the ginger, wine, lemon juice and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about three minutes. Taste and add the red pepper if you like and adjust for salt.

Combine the water and the cornstarch, then stir into the sauce. Cook just until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the scallops to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce.

Serve with rice or rice noodles.

Note: I’ve seen several recipes for this dish that used orange juice rather than lemon juice. I find the orange flavor kind of overwhelming. The lemon juice is tart, but the scallops are a bit sweet, so they balance each other nicely.

In case I haven’t yelled it often enough, next Tuesday is the release day for the eleventh Orchard Mystery, A Late Frost. In honor of that I’m offering a copy of the book to one lucky person who comments—and tells me whether you like scallops.

In A Late Frost, the usually quiet town of Granford, Massachusetts, is even drowsier during the colder months. But this year it’s in for a jolt when Monica Whitman moves into town.

She’s a dynamo who wants to make friends fast in her new home, and she throws herself into community activities. She’s already sold the town board on a new, fun way to bring in visitors during the off-season: WinterFare, which will feature local foods (such as Meg’s apples) and crafts, as well as entertainment. 

Tragically, Monica falls ill and dies after the event in what looks like a case of food poisoning. When all the food served at WinterFare has been tested, including Meg’s apples, it becomes clear that there’s a more complicated explanation to the older woman’s sudden demise. 

Heirloom apples from my own
trees (and yes, they're supposed
to look blotchy like that!)
Find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


  1. The scallops sound wonderful. I will definitely try this recipe! Thank you for sharing. Also looking forward to A Late Frost!

  2. I do like scallops. I like most seafood - with the exception of oysters. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I like scallops but don’t make them very often.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  4. Scallops are a favorite of mine but I have them rarely. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. I am intrigued by your recipe, it looks delicious. You know, I really adore scallops but have never tried to cook them because it is a rather pricey ingredient for me and I feared ruining them.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  6. I enjoy scallops on a special occasion. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  7. I enjoy scallops but rarely prepare them at home. This looks like a deliciously easy recipe. mjmphila@yahoo.

  8. Well seared scallops are lovely. This looks like an excellent recipe for them.

    I am looking forward to the new book.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  9. Scallops are one of my favorite dishes because I can get them so fresh on Cape Cod. I'll add this recipe to my repertoire. It's November, so the small bay scallops will be in. Those are like eating candy.

    I'm so looking forward to your next book in the series. In every new book, your characters have become more fully developed. Having grown up in western Massachusetts, I can picture their surroundings. Thank you!

  10. I love scallops & all seafood but living in Iowa I don't get to enjoy it enough, like 3 times a day. LOL doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  11. I really like scallops. I don't make them at home, but order them when I eat out.

  12. This sounds amazing. Unfortunately you really cannot get good scallops here in Middle TN. I love them so much and only get them rarely. Those look awesome!! Thanks for the chance to win. kayt18 (at) comcast (dot) net

  13. This recipe looks to be light & easy to follow. I like scallops but like Kay Bennett, I don't find fresh ones here in deep east Texas! We do have a grocery store with a good seafood department though. And I wonder if the ginger lemon sauce would also be good with shrimp.We have a supply of fantastic shrimp here from the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks for sharing this one with us. Looking forward to reading A Late Frost! :)

  14. Love scallops and a new recipe to try is wonderful. Always looking for one. Thank you Would love to read the book and see whodunit to poor Monica. Hope not to late. Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

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  16. I absolutely love scallops, in fact I had some last night. This recipe sounds like it right up my alley. I will try it soon. I would love to read your book while waiting for the scallops to cook. Thank you for the chance. lamonicaks at gmail dot com.

  17. Recipe sounds delicious. I want to read a late frost! Thank you here's hoping

  18. Not sure if my post went through. But the recipe sounds delicious. I want to bread your book!

  19. I'm not a scallop eater, but I have eaten them and would be willing to try this recipe...if someone else makes them. Lol, I know my limits. I do love apples and those heirlooms look delicious! I hope that's not what got Monica. Thank you for sharing. konecny7(at)gmail(dot)com