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Scallops in a Lemon, Anchovy and Basil Reduction

I’ve Said This Before, But…

A great recipe is a thing of joy.  Scallops in a lemon, anchovy and basil reduction is one of our favorites and for good reason.  It is easy to make and puts any restaurant meal to shame.  The lemons give a bright burst of citrus acidity to the scallops.  The anchovies provide an earthy saltiness.  The basil give the dish a bit of color and a nice herbal punch.

We have altered it over the years to suit our tastes.  Don’t be afraid of the anchovies.  They make the meal.  Be sure to have all the ingredients prepped prior to beginning.  This meal cooks too quickly for you to be slicing and dicing after you get started.  You need heat to cook this properly.  When it says the oil needs to be smoking hot, it really needs to be smoking.  Using a well-seasoned cast iron skillet has provided excellent results for us.  A loaf of fresh French bread to sop up the sauce is a mighty fine idea as well.  If you really want to show off,  read how to quickly and easily make your own homemade bread!

Scallops in a Lemon, Anchovy and Basil Reduction


1 pound of large, fresh scallops


two lemons

olive oil ( 3 – 4 tablespoons…enough to barely cover the skillet and keep scallops from sticking)

fresh basil

5 – 8 anchovy fillets


Lightly salt the scallops.  Mince the anchovy fillets.  Juice the lemons. Chop the basil.  Place the olive oil in a heavy skillet and heat until smoking.  Place the scallops in the skillet and cook for about three minutes.  You need the skillet to be hot so that the scallops sear and have a nice brown color beginning on them, but before they are overcooked.  Turn and cook for another minute to brown the other side of scallops.  Remove the scallops to a serving platter and keep warm.  Add the minced anchovies to the hot skillet.  Stir until the anchovies begin to dissolve.  Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and a tablespoon or so of water.  Be sure to scrape up all the good stuff on the bottom of the pan. Quickly add and stir in the basil before pouring over the scallops.  Serve immediately.

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