Scallops with Caramelized Pearl Onions and Tarragon Crème Fraiche Sauce
So I figured if I had a food blog named "The Pearl Onion," I should create a recipe that features the namesake. So here you go! I have a little secret too...this was actually my first time to cook pearl onions. Well, I have another secret, I actually first tried making this yesterday but burned it so truthfully this is my second try. However, I must say that this second attempt produced an excellent dinner!
What I like about this recipe is that the sweetness of the caramelized pearl onions is a really nice way of tying the subtle taste of the scallops with the richness of the sauce. Also, the crème fraiche is a good base for the sauce because although it is rich, it is not sweet which allows for a clean canvas for the tarragon and lemon flavors. And frankly, this dish tasted damn good and looks quite pretty too. Don't you agree? Another easy dish for entertaining!
So here are the ingredients (per serving):
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- A handful of red pearl onions
- 1/2 lb of sea scallops
- 2 oz. creme fraiche (see note 1)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, roughly chopped (see note 2)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- On very low heat place two tablespoons of olive oil (drizzled twice around the pan) and the peeled red pearl onions into a pan. The pearl onions must be cooked slowly in order to develop the caramelized flavor. When they feel a little mushy to the touch, they are ready.
- In another pan over medium heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the scallops (flat-face down). Cook equally on each side until the scallops are opaque. This should take about 5-8 minutes.
- As the scallops are finishing, place the remaining ingredients into the other pan with the caramelized pearl onions and whisk the liquid together until the crème fraiche is thoroughly melted. (see picture)
- Place the scallops onto a plate and drizzle the sauce on top. Garnish with a sprinkle of more fresh tarragon top.
1) Crème Fraiche: Are you wondering, “What in the world is this?” I first became familiar with Crème Fraiche when I was living in London. The Brits commonly serve it with fresh strawberries (a tradition at Wimbledon). It is basically a crème that is most similar to sour cream but thicker and a tad bit buttery and smoother in taste. Crème Fraiche works well with heat, which is why it is a good item to use for making sauces. You can find it in the grocery store near the sour cream. If you are unable to find Crème Fraiche, then substitute it with regular cream.
2) Tarragon: I am really not a fan of dry herbs, especially when the herbs are used in uncooked or lightly cooked dishes. However, if you must use dry herbs, only use 1/2 teaspoon. Dry herbs are much stronger than when fresh.