scallops with orange saffron aioli

according to wikipedia, “saffron, long the world’s most expensive spice by weight, is native to southwest asia.

and we totally lucked out when our friend went to asia & brought us back a small fortune’s worth.

::hi mary!  thanks so much!::

for those of you who don’t have a mary, it’s worth the investment.  sure it costs more than your average spice, but it brings a subtle & unique flavor to whatever you put it in.  like this dish.  and it usually takes just a pinch or so to do the trick, so don’t worry, you wont be dumping $20 worth of it into one meal.

from food network (4 servings)

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
a pinch (about 1/8 teaspoon) saffron
1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt to taste
about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12-16 large sea scallops
freshly ground black pepper

1. over medium heat in a small saucepan, heat orange juice and saffron until simmering. simmer for about 2 minutes, until the saffron has infused the juice. remove from heat, stir in orange zest and let the saffron infuse & cool a little bit.

2. in a small bowl, whisk together the cooled orange juice mixture & mayonnaise until thoroughly combined. season with salt, to taste & set aside.

3. in a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. rinse the scallops & PAT. DRY. this is a crucial step to get a good sear on your scallops, it won’t happen if they’re wet.

4. once the oil is hot & rippling, add the scallops. DO. NOT. MOVE. THEM. for at least 2 minutes. no peeking. no shuffling around the pan. NADA. if you insist on shuffling them around in the pan, they will not sear, will not get that good caramelization on the outside. after 2 minutes, take a peek at the bottom of one. if it’s a nice rich, dark, golden color, go ahead and flip them. leave alone on this side until cooked through, around 2-3 more minutes.

5. remove the scallops from the pan, drizzle with aioli & serve.

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