Perfect Pan-Seared Sea Scallops | Wine Enthusiast
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Perfect Pan-Seared Sea Scallops

Courtesy Ed Witt, executive chef, The Katharine Brasserie & Bar, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Katharine Brasserie & Bar, a much-anticipated new restaurant, will be housed in Winston-Salem’s historic R.J. Reynolds building, a 1929 Art Deco skyscraper that inspired the Empire State Building. It merges modern French brasserie style with Executive Chef Ed Witt’s dedication to local ingredients and soulful cooking.


8 large or 16 medium sea scallops
½ pound fingerling potatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1 bunch spring onions, washed and trimmed (use ramps if available)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional to fry
Piquillo pepper relish (recipe below)


Boil potatoes in well-salted water until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool. Season spring onions with salt and pepper. Toss with olive oil. Grill (or cook with grill or sauté pan over medium heat) until slightly wilted. Set aside.

In sauté pan over medium-high heat, add generous coating of olive oil. Smash each potato with palm. Add to pan. Sear each side until crisp and golden brown.

While potatoes cook, warm another sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat lightly with olive oil. Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Add scallops to pan. Cook, without moving, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Turn scallops. Cook until golden on other side, about 3 minutes.

Arrange scallops and potatoes on plates. Garnish with piquillo pepper relish and spring onions. Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as an entrée.

Note: Witt uses ramps rather than spring onions. If you can find them, these tiny wild leeks abundant this month along the Eastern seaboard are worth the search.

Piquillo Pepper Relish

1 cup drained, rinsed and roughly chopped jarred piquillo peppers (or jarred/freshly roasted red bell peppers)
3 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Relish Directions

Pulse ingredients in food processor until well combined, but with some texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Relish may be prepared 2 days ahead and refrigerated.

Pair It

“I recommend a Hugel Riesling from Alsace,” says Herbie Gimmel, general manager of The Katharine. “Its bracing acidity and vivid stone fruit play well with both the sweetness and mild spice from the piquillo peppers.”

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