Keto Scallops in Creamy Saffron Sauce is one of those recipes that sounds complex, yet it is so easy! I might add, it is just delicious. This is truly one of our favorite recipes. It is also very versatile. You can serve it as an appetizer, or as a small plate (tapas). It also makes a delicious main seafood meal. You can even double the sauce portion of the recipe and serve it over zucchini noodles (Zoodles). So, it can also delight as a delicious pasta dish!
Joanie’s recipe is a definite Keto-friendly dish. The carbs are low with the choice of scallops, and the fat is high with the heavy cream base for the sauce. We eat a lot of scallops with our Low Carb/Keto lifestyle. This scallop recipe adds the unique Spanish Saffron flavor that is so rich when infused in a wine and cream-based sauce. The sauce will also work well with shrimp, mussels, lobster, and even chicken. How is that for versatility!
The key ingredient is “Saffron.” But, not just any saffron. We really recommend using Authentic Spanish Saffron. It is an expensive spice, but so worth it in terms of flavor. The reason it is expensive is that it must be hand-picked. However, a little does go a long way. In addition, as long as you employ a proper technique in your recipe you will have a delicious result.
We really like the Lidoma Brand from the La Mancha region of Spain. It is “premium grade” with no additives or preservatives. They are also full stemmed. Another brand we use often is from Kiva. It is a premium Spanish saffron of the same quality as the Lidoma Brand. They are both excellent, and will also add so much flavor to a Spanish Cauliflower Rice or Spanish Paella.
We also suggest using Authentic Extra Virgin Spanish Olive Oil for all of your Spanish dishes. If you have ever been to an olive oil shop and tasted various oils, you will know there are differences. We like a product from Andalucía called La Laguna de Fuente de Piedra. It is fruity, and buttery, and not peppery at all. It is so delicious in Spanish recipes. However, any quality Spanish olive oil found at your local market will work well. Just read the label and make sure it is not a blend.
Preparation of Infused Saffron
The first tip of importance is the process of infusing the saffron in a good white wine. The process is simple. Bring the white wine to a quick boil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Drop in the whole threads of saffron and immediately take off the heat. Allow the mixture to steep for an hour or two for the most deepened flavor. This is our standard method for adding saffron flavor. Although we feel that steeping (like tea) works best, you can also muddle the saffron before infusing. Too often, recipes simply drop a few threads into a nearly finished dish and call it a saffron sauce. Not good! Try Joanie’s method, and you will be amazed at the taste difference.
How to Perfectly Sear Scallops
The second tip. Use a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet for your seared scallops. We like cast iron since it allows for the even high-heat needed for quickly searing. You should also use a high-smoke oil for searing. We have found that Avocado oil works best (it’s smoke point is 520 degrees). However, you can easily use extra-virgin olive oil for that Spanish touch.
Also, make sure that your scallops are thoroughly dry. Once thawed (if frozen), Joanie will pat them a few times with clean paper towels to remove the water. She often refrigerates them for a few hours, then brings them to ROOM TEMPERATURE, pats them again. You need to remove the water so the scallops will sear, and not poach.
Some chefs will even sprinkle a little brown sugar on top before searing. If you try that trick make sure you use Sukrin Gold.
Cook the scallops initially for two minutes, do not move them around, and flip them just once. Also, do not crowd the scallops. As soon as you flip your scallops, add the butter and cook for only one more minute. Remove and cover very loosely with foil while you make the sauce.
Preparation of the Creamy Saffron Sauce
Joanie uses heavy cream a lot for her sauces. It is Keto-friendly, is perfect for cream soups, and is a the base for everything from icings to seafood cream sauces. It is a necessity for making a delicious Alfredo Sauce. Her tip whenever using heavy cream is to turn the heat down to medium-low and to stir, a lot. You should also recognize that as your sauce cools, it will thicken. Finally, Joanie adds just a very small amount of tomato paste to add the flavor of Northern Spain to the dish. You can make this addition optional, if you prefer a traditional saffron cream sauce.
Finally, Joanie will usually use the same skillet for the sauce, after she removes the scallops. Scallops will give off some natural juices when heated and that can add to the flavor. However, as you can see from the picture above, there will be a lot of bits and oil from the bottom of the pan, especially if you use the brown sugar trick noted. In addition, the skillet will be very hot after searing the scallops. Make sure you wait after turning the heat down so your shallot and garlic will not burn. You may wish to simply use a separate non-stick skillet preheated to medium low to make the saffron sauce.
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Keto Scallops in Creamy Saffron Sauce – A Perfect “Taste of Spain”
Keto Scallops in Creamy Saffron Sauce is truly a “taste of Spain.” The wine-infused saffron offers a unique taste and when combined with just a squeeze of tomato paste, it is perfect! So creamy, and so Keto, you must give this one a try. We absolutely love this recipe. Joanie has outdone herself with another Tasty Low Carb masterpiece!
Keto Scallops in Creamy Saffron Sauce
- Heat the white wine in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. As soon as it begins to boil, transfer the wine to a small bowl and add the saffron threads. Allow to steep while preparation continues. You can actually do this an hour or more in advance for deeper flavor.
- Season scallops with a pinch or two of the sea salt and pepper. Heat a skillet to medium high and add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil. Sauté the scallops for 2 minutes, flip, add a tablespoon of butter. Sauté for an additional minute. Transfer the scallops to a plate, loosely cover with foil.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to your skillet and reduce the heat to medium-low. Wait for a coule minutes, then sauté the diced shallot and garlic for 2 minutes, stir as you go. (You may wish to use a separate pre-heated non-stick skillet for this step).
- Stir in the saffron wine mixture and cook for 2 minutes. The wine will reduce slightly.
- Add the heavy cream and tomato paste – mix continuing to cook and stir for 3 minutes.
- Add the remaining sea salt and pepper to your sauce – to taste. Plate the scallops on top of the saffron sauce and garnish with chopped parsley.
- We really do recommend using Kiva Spanish Saffron or Lidoma Spanish Saffron. We find these brands are perfect for Spanish cooking – they are real “Grade One” Saffron from La Mancha region in Spain.
- You can actually steep the saffron threads in the wine for longer than indicated. The longer you steep the saffron in the wine the more pronounced the flavor. We would suggest steeping the mixture for an hour or two.
- If you prefer a thinner sauce (it will thicken as it cools) use a few tablespoons of half-n-half to thin your sauce.
- You can also double the sauce recipe and serve your scallops over Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles).
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