caramel scallops

Vietnamese braised scallops

Caramel-coated seafood sounds unlikely, I realize, but keep in mind this is Vietnamese caramel sauce: savory and bitter, it’s not at all like candy. Thankfully.

This wasn’t entirely my favorite way of eating scallops (panfried, wrapped in bacon, holds that honor), but we’d been looking for ways to use the caramel sauce Jon made awhile back, and it made for a very quick and interesting dinner. The sauce was made from a recipe in Andrea Nguyen’s Vietnamese cookbook, and the braised scallops were done more or less according to Molly Stevens’ book – basically, heating the caramel, adding fish sauce and shallots, putting in sea scallops and covering until just cooked through, mixing in chopped scallions, then dumping it all over white rice. The flavor was rich, and not nearly as salty as you’d think from looking at it. A plate of paper-thin slices of cucumber was a nice accompaniment, along with a sparkling low-alcohol Riesling.

Vietnamese braised scallops

I might consider making the sauce again, but maybe with halibut instead of scallops. Or if I did use scallops, I think I’d pan-sear them instead of braising. It’s hard to resist a seared scallop. Even if it doesn’t have bacon on it.


8 thoughts on “caramel scallops

  1. wow. This looks wonderful. There is a fish store on our way home from school that often has scallops…hmmmmmmmm.

    Also, I just read about Joule. That looks worth exploring.


  2. really interesting use of caramel sauce! we always tend to use it on fattier meats such as pork belly or fish such as catfish, but good to know you’re thinking out of the box! 🙂

    1. Well, I can’t really take credit for the idea – thank Molly Stevens for that. I can definitely see the sauce on catfish or halibut, though. And pork is, of course, always a great choice!

  3. I learned this sauce in a cooking class and made it with catfish. It was able to hold up to the strong flavor. Have tried it with halibut too – worked great.

    BTW, were you at Fu Man Dumpling recently?

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