Recipe: 5-Spice Seared Scallops with Garlicky Broccolini, Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts with Pan Sauce

I went to dinner at Ceiba with my husband and some of his friends from out of town. I was in a bad mood when I arrived because I was about an hour late (attempting to drive from Potomac, MD to 14th and F at 5:45pm on a Tuesday), not to mention arriving to find that it was an all male dinner and they politely waited for my arrival. I felt terribly guilty. But all my paranoia and frustration went away when I saw the combination of seared scallops, 5-spice, Broccolini and golden raisins. It was a mood lifter and hopefully when I make my 5-Spice Seared Scallops with Garlicky Broccolini, Golden Raisin & Pine Nut Saute with Pan Sauce for my clients – it gives them a little positive breeze as well.
On a side note: Ceiba has really great (and most importantly FRESH) Ceviche – it is only number two in my mind to Zengo – which is more interesting in flavors (due to their Asian-Latin fusion thingy). If you like Ceviche or if you have been scared to eat raw fish cooked with citrus juices – these are the two places to ensure a delicious and safe meal.
5-Spice Seared Scallops with Garlicky Broccolini, Golden Raisin & Pine Nuts Saute with Pan Sauce
(serves 2)
  • 10 Sea Scallops, fresh with muscles still on the side
  • 4 T. 5-Spice
  • 4 T. unsalted butter
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 5 gloves of garlic, roughly chopped (or subsitute spanish onions if you don't like garlic - as pictured above)
  • 1 bunch of Broccolini
  • 1/4-1/2 c. golden raisins
  • 1 c. chicken stock
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place pine nuts on cookie sheet, spread them out and place in oven (middle rack or place them as close to the middle as possible)to bake for 5-10 minutes (depends on your oven) until toasted and golden brown. Make sure to remove them from the cookie sheet when golden brown and set them aside.
  2. Bring a medium pot to a boil and add 1 T. salt. Cut the rubber bands from the Broccolini and drop them in the boiling water to boil for at least 1 minute until they are bright green and the stalks are partially cooked through. Strain from the water and plunge the Broccolini into an ice bath until cooked, then remove and set aside.
  3. Place the scallops in a bowl, remove the side muscle and sprinkle over salt, pepper, 5-spice, toss to coat. Heat a saute pan to high heat until almost smoking, drop in 2 T. butter and 2 T. canola oil until melted and crackling, carefully drop in scallops and sear until golden brown and caramelized (do not touch once you place them in the pan - let them caramelize!) about 2 minutes, then flip and caramelize/sear the remaining side (about 2 minutes). Remove saute pan from heat and take out scallops from the pan and place on cookie sheet, cover with foil to keep warm.
  4. Using the same pan (as long as you didn't burn it up), add 2 T. butter and swirl the butter around to deglaze the pan a little, add the garlic, saute until starting to turn golden brown, add chicken stock, raisins, pine nuts to deglaze pan, while cooking the garlic through. Reduce the sauce by half, add salt, pepper and the broccolini to warm it (about 1-2 minutes), tossing it gently in the sauce.
To Serve: Using tongs, place broccoli in center of plate, vertically from top to bottom. Top with scallops in a line, vertically on top. Spoon garlic, raisin, pan sauce mixture over and around scallops to enjoy.
Want to add some spice? Add some chopped red thai chiles when you cook the garlic - it'll pack a punch!