Seared Sea Scallops with Carrot Marjoram Sauce
- 2 cups carrot juice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, or dry vermouth
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 medium shallot
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 8 three inch sprigs fresh marjoram, tied together with kitchen twine
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 12) large sea scallops
In a medium saucepan, combine carrot juice, 1/4 cup wine, lemon juice, shallot, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat just enough to maintain a steady boil. Cook until slightly thickened (it should resemble the consistency of pulpy orange juice) and reduced to about 1/2 cup, 20 to 30 minutes.
Reduce heat, and very gently simmer the carrot reduction. Whisk in butter one piece at a time, waiting until each piece is melted and incorporated before adding another. The sauce should be thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Return the sauce to a simmer, whisking constantly. Submerge the bundle of marjoram in the sauce, and remove from heat. Let marjoram infuse sauce while you cook the scallops.
Heat oven to 175 degrees. Turn off the oven, and place a platter in it to warm. If the scallops have small, loosely attached, rectangular pieces of white muscle on their sides, pull them off, and discard. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels, and season all sides lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan over high heat until it is very hot and smoking. Using tongs, carefully place the scallops flat side down in the pan. Let the scallops cook undisturbed until they are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn, and cook until the other side is browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer scallops to warmed platter. Reduce heat to medium, and pour in remaining 1/4 cup wine. Scrape up browned bits, then add liquid to carrot mixture.
Remove marjoram bundle from carrot sauce, squeeze it dry, and discard. Reheat sauce over medium heat, whisking constantly. Taste, and adjust seasoning. For a very smooth texture, pass sauce through a very fine strainer. If the sauce begins to separate or the butter comes to surface in droplets, blend the sauce for a few seconds using an immersion blender. Divide scallops among warmed dinner plates, and pour carrot sauce around them. Serve.