love the taste.
love the smell!
the look of plump vanilla beans and the black caviar of they yield. Precious minute pearls of black gold.
even love the vanilla orchid, the ONLY member of the extensive orchid family
that produces something edible.
My love of vanilla known no bounds, which includes that most delightful of dichotomies: sweet vs. savory.
I had started experimenting with savory vanilla recipes quite some time ago with my corn and crab stir-fry. But it had never gone beyond that.
Looking for savory recipes, I found quite a few mentions of using vanilla that way but precious few actual recipes.
From my experiences with crab and vanilla, I suspected that it paired well with seafood. But I didn’t want to do crab again. I wanted something else.
I was tired of shrimp.
But I wasn’t up for lobster. What I wanted was something tender and mellow.
I wanted scallops!
Scallops have a creamy mellow flavor that takes other flavors on well, which is ideal. And they have the loveliest creamy texture; a slight resistance that yields readily to release their sweet flavor.
I figured they would go well in a cream sauce. There isn’t a thing in this world that doesn’t taste good cooked in cream and butter. But creamy and creamy makes for one boring meal. So I knew that a vanilla cream sauce was just not enough.
It may be a personal preference but I like scallops served with a little something tart. I think tart not only helps to bring out scallops natural sweetness but also provides enough contrast to make each bite interesting.
I normally use black current jelly over scallops, a tiny dollop atop each little muscle, but I thought that the flavors of the fruit were too assertive for the subtle vanilla. So off I went to my pantry and started digging, rejecting bottle after bottle until my fingers, by chance happened upon a sadly neglected bottle of pomegranate syrup.
Pomegranates. Vanilla. And Scallops. Sounds like a combination of mythic proportions.
Not that I can resist messing with things. I can’t help myself. I have to fiddle. So while I was heating the pomegranate syrup, I accidentally tipped some cinnamon into the pot. And maybe a wee bit more vanilla and perhaps… just perhaps… a tiny little bit of cayenne.
But it was all quite by accident. I assure you.
But the pomegranate sauce ended up being the very best part of the dish anyway. It went perfect with both the scallops and the Chinese broccoli tops which I sautéed quickly with some browned butter and slivered almonds. And it was far better than the vanilla cream sauce, which turned out to be just a bit too bland for my tastes.
Oh well live and learn. I think that I would have been better off searing the scallops with vanilla butter then serving them with a drizzle of the pomegranate cinnamon sauce. And I may try that next time I have a hankering for scallops.
The vanilla worked really well with the scallops and I think that vanilla butter alone would have been enough to infuse the scallops with the scent of vanilla. Then again, I think I may just be prejudice in favor of pomegranates.
The results certainly weren’t terrible, just not what I was expecting. The recipe I am including is for the way I will make it next time.
Vanilla Scented Scallops
6 large diver scallops
2 tablespoons butter, softned
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Wash the scallops and pat them dry. Allow to sit out for 15-30 minutes to air dry.
Mix the butter and vanilla and place into a skillet large enough to accommodate all of the scallops. Heat the pan on high until the butter begins to brown slightly.
Add the scallops and cook without turning until the bottom is nicely browned and caramelized (about 3 minutes). Turn and repeat on the other side.
Lower the heat and cook until the scallops are just opaque. Do not over cook.
Serve with pomegranate-cinnamon sauce.
½ cup pomegranate syrup 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 bean + seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Combine everything except for the sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust sourness with the sugar. Remove from heat and allow to stand for at least an hour or over night for the flavors to meld
Wilted Garlic Greens
1 pound of greens
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves of garlic, slivered
Preheat a large skillet. Add butter and allow to melt.
Add slivered garlic to the butter and cook until the garlic just turns golden.
Add greens, stirring quickly to coat with butter.
Allow greens to cook until tender but still retrain their vibrant color (about 3 minutes).
Serve with a drizzle of pomegranate-cinnamon sauce.
If pomegranate syrup is not available you can make your own by boiling 4 cups
of pomegranate juice until it is reduced to the consistency of maple syrup.
If pomegranate juice is not available, cherry juice/syrup would make and excellent substitute.