Pan-Seared Scallops with Apple-Onion Marmalade & Bacon

This recipe courtesy of Chef John Paulk

The sophisticated flavors of this lovely scallop starter will surely impress your guests. Yet it's very simple to prepare. Look for the largest sea scallops you can find as they will remain juicy and tender once seared.


For the marmalade:

  • 1/4 cup  olive oil
  • 2 large   sweet onions such as Vidalia, cut through the stem end into thin wedges
  • 2 large   golden delicious or other baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin wedges
  • 1/2 tsp.  cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp.   apple cider vinegar, or more, to taste
  • 3/4 tsp.  salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 slices   bacon
  • 18 large  sea scallops, about 1 1/2 lb. total, patted dry
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup  apple cider


  1. To make the marmalade, in a large fry pan over medium to medium-low heat, warm the olive oil.
  2. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the apples and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring, until the onions are golden and the apples soften, about 30 minutes more.
  4. Add the cider vinegar, salt and pepper and remove from the heat. You should have about 3 cups. Set aside in the pan.
  5. In another large fry pan over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain. Discard all but about 1 Tbs. (a light coating) of the bacon drippings from the pan.
  6. Sprinkle the scallops lightly with salt and pepper.
  7. Return the fry pan to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the scallops a few at a time and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides, about 1 minute on each side.
  8. Transfer to a plate and keep warm while you cook the remaining scallops.
  9. When all the scallops are cooked, add the apple cider to the pan and boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  10. Pour any juices that have collected on the scallop plate into the fry pan. Remove from the heat.
  11. Meanwhile, reheat the marmalade over medium-low heat until heated through. Spread about 1/2 cup of the marmalade on each individual plate.
  12. Top each portion with 3 scallops, then drizzle with about 1 Tbs. of the cider sauce. Crumble the bacon over the scallops, dividing it evenly. Serve warm.

Serves 6


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