Pistachio-encrusted dish makes for a light and healthy appetizer

Intro by Pam George  |  Photograph by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
From the June 2019 issue


If you have a fondness for tasting menus and food festivals, you’ve probably noticed that scallops are a popular choice. There are good reasons for that. Despite their compact size, they’re sweet, meaty and succulent. They pair well with creative flavor combinations, and they’re easy to portion out at events.

At Victoria’s Restaurant, scallops are a staple on the menu. “They are our most popular appetizer,” says Bill Karrow, the executive chef of the Rehoboth establishment in the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel. “It’s nice and light.”

Karrow crusts his scallops with pistachios and serves them with citrus fruit and peppery arugula for a refreshing warm-weather starter. It will also appeal to low-carb fans. “I try to eat healthily,” he says. “It has nuts, which are one of the best things you can eat.”

This recipe doesn’t contain trendy, hard-to-find ingredients, so it’s manageable for most home chefs, says the Washington, D.C.-area native who came to coastal Delaware more than 25 years ago. While the scallops should be seared just before serving, you can make the vinaigrette in advance.

If you prefer to serve this dish as an entree, double it. Karrow adds grilled vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes to make it a more substantial yet still summery meal.


Seared Pistachio Scallops with Citrus and Greens

(serves 4 as an appetizer)

For the vinaigrette:
1⁄2     cup of frozen orange juice concentrate
1⁄4     cup of rice vinegar
1          tablespoon of lemon juice
1          tablespoon of lime juice
2          tablespoons of sugar
1⁄2     teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1⁄2     teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 1⁄2  cups of an olive oil blend or oil of your choice

Mix all but the oil in a blender. Slowly add the oil.

For the scallops:
1          6-ounce package of roasted, salted and shelled pistachios
1⁄4     cup of melted butter
16       large scallops
Salt and pepper
1          tablespoon of grapeseed oil or other oil for searing
2          cups of baby spinach
2          cups of arugula
1          15-ounce can of mandarin oranges
2          red grapefruits (segmented)

Pulse the nuts in a food processor. Add the melted butter and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in an oven-proof pan. When it’s hot but not smoking, add the scallops. Sear on one side for about three minutes. Flip and sear for one minute. Top each scallop with the nut mixture and move the pan to the oven for three to four minutes or until the crust is hot.

Divide the greens and citrus fruit evenly on four plates. Top with the scallops. Dress with the citrus vinaigrette. Garnish with any leftover pistachio crust. For a meal, add grilled vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes.


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