seared scallops with a grapefruit beurre blanc and finger lime caviar


A few weeks ago, when I was in the produce section of my local grocery store, I came across some weirdly shaped, greenish-brown slug-like creatures in between the tangerines and the lemons.  I was intrigued.  It turns out they were finger limes – otherwise known as the “caviar of citrus”.  And once you see them you will know why – as soon as you cut them in half, tiny translucent baubles, tinged in green and pink, nearly explode forth, like celebratory champagne bubbles.  When eaten, they also pop on your tongue, releasing little bursts of citrus acidity, like naturally existing, beautifully tart Pop Rocks.  I found the whole experience extraordinary, especially that such a seemingly ugly shell could enclose such wonders!

If you can’t get your hands on finger limes, this recipe is just as delicious without.  I used to be intimidated by searing scallops, but it truly couldn’t be easier.   The key is a hot pan – let the oil in the skillet get to the point of barely smoking before adding the scallops.  The grapefruit beurre blanc is also extremely easy to prepare, and you can substitute any other citrus juice you would like.  Although this dish looks impressive enough to serve for a special occasion {perhaps Valentine’s Day}, it is also easy enough to prepare for a weeknight meal.

Recipe continued after the jump…




Serves 2

Adapted from Saveur

  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice {or other citrus juice}
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 1/2 c. {1 stick} cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon basil, chiffonaded
  • 6 sea scallops
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 finger lime, halved and pearls removed

Boil wine, vinegar, juice and shallot in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and, working quickly so the mixture stays warm, whisk in the butter, a little at a time.  Stir in the basil and season salt and pepper.  Set sauce aside.

Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat.  Rinse scallops and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.  Season scallops with salt and pepper, and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Divide scallops among two plates, spoon over sauce and garnish with finger lime pearls.






Thank you very much for reading!

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28 Responses to seared scallops with a grapefruit beurre blanc and finger lime caviar

  1. i’ve seen finger limes before but never quite knew what I could do with them, this is genius. Beautiful recipe and photo’s.

  2. LaurenG says:

    Exquisite! That really does look positively divine. Do you have to use a non-non-stick pan, i.e., a pan that is not non-stick, in order to get the sear correct?

  3. Darya says:

    Beautiful, your photography is so elegant, and this dish is so classy. I adore scallops too! And I once had “citron caviar” (= lime fingers) in a restaurant, but I have no idea where one can get them in France! Great post, Lindsay.

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you Darya! I think that currently finger limes are only being grown in Australia and California, but I wonder whether maybe some importers in France could get their hands on them? Would send some to you if I could! 🙂

      • Darya says:

        I did some research and it is possible to get imported Australian finger lime here. It is excessively expensive (2 for 10 euros), and since I try to buy most of my fresh produce from local farmers, it doesn’t quite fit into that pattern, but I am not against an exception once in a while; it would be fun to try it out some day.
        Lucky California is such a wonderful place for fresh produce and variety!

      • fleurdeselsf says:

        Haha – yes, that does seem a bit much! And I totally agree with you about buying locally. France should also start growing these little gems! 🙂

  4. humm i am not most intrested in finger limes…never had one, never seen one, but i must have one! anywho your scallops look just wonderful..lovely post..sarah

  5. sorry i ment to say i AM most intrested in finger limes…( sorry i sounded like a real jerk…) 🙂 ..sarah

  6. Anne says:

    Oh my god! That looks divine. Your scallops are perfectly seared and that sauce —it’s to die for! Gorgeous photos as always Lindsay. You blew me away.

  7. putneyfarm says:

    Beautiful dish! We want to get our hands on some of those finger limes!

  8. This is a very elegant dish. I have not tried grapefruit with scallops, sadly, I will struggle to get the finger limes though. Thanks for the inspiration. Tracey

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you Tracey – and thanks for stopping by! Do let me know if you are able to find finger limes – hopefully they will soon become more widely available! Although the dish is just as good without. xo, Lindsay

  9. Karen says:

    What a fantastic post…from the photos to the recipe!

  10. petit4chocolatier says:

    Elegantly delicious 🙂

  11. Pingback: {Les autres agrumes} Saint-Jacques meunière et beurre de bergamote « Tortore

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