Grilled Scallops with Tarragon Sauce



  • 24 sea scallops
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 branches fresh tarragon, stemmed, stems and leaves saved
  • 2 cups fish stock
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 large shallots, peeled, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ bunch watercress leaves
  • 8 medium spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup packed chervil leaves (if available); otherwise substitute watercress and spinach leaves
  • ½ pound butter
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper puree
  • 4 tablespoons salmon or steelhead roe


Toss the scallops in a mixture of the oil and chopped tarragon stems. Let marinate for 1 hour and discard the tarragon. Put 6 or 7 scallops on each of 4 skewers.

While the scallops are marinating, make the sauces. Put the fish stock, wine, shallots, thyme, and bay leaf in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid, discarding the herbs and shallots.

Heat the grill or broiler.

Blanch the tarragon leaves, watercress, spinach, and chervil in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and cool under cold water for 1 minute. Squeeze dry and chop fine. Add the herbs to the reduced fish stock and simmer 5 minutes. Cut up 10 tablespoons of the butter and whisk into the stock over low heat. Season and keep the sauce warm.

Heat the red bell pepper puree, reduce the heat, and whisk in the remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Season it.

Brush the scallops with the oil remaining from the marination. Season the scallops and grill or broil until the scallops are still a little translucent in the center, about 3 minutes each side. Spoon the tarragon sauce on warm plates and put the scallops in the center of each plate. Spoon some of the pepper sauce over the scallops and place some of the salmon roe on each plate.