Sautéed Scallops with Saffron-Lemon Sauce


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This gourmet scallop preparation features saffron, lemon zest, and arrowroot.

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  • 1/2 C. bottled clam juice or fish stock
  • 1/2 tsp. saffron threads
  • 3/4 tsp. arrowroot dissolved in 1 Tbs. water
  • 1/2 C. fat-free half-and-half
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/3 lbs. bay scallops
  • 2 tsp. finely minced shallots
  • 1 tsp. finely minced garlic
  • 1/4 C. finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/3 C. dry white wine
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 small fresh basil leaves, stemmed and cut into slivers

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Combine clam juice and saffron threads; set aside. Place dissolved arrowroot in a small measuring C. and whisk in half- and-half until smooth; set aside. Heat a 10-in. skillet over medium-high heat. Put 2 tsp. olive oil into the pan and heat. Add half of the scallops and quickly sauté about 2 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining 2 tsp. olive oil and scallops. Once all scallops have been removed, put shallots, garlic and bell pepper into the pan and stir 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with wine, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Boil until reduced by half. Pour clam juice-saffron mixture into the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook at a high simmer 3 minutes. Pour any juices that have gathered around the scallops into the pan; simmer 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; reduce heat to medium-low. Spoon some of hot liquid into the half-and-half, mixing well. Then pour back into sauce, place pan back on the heat and simmer until lightly thickened. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Add scallops, lemon zest and basil to sauce. Stir until scallops are lightly coated and heated through. Serve immediately.

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