Honey Espresso Glazed Diver Scallops

It is once again time for the Royal Foodie Joust, hosted by Jenn, The Leftover Queen!

Last month, Eating Club Vancouver got the win (though FotoCuisine came in 2nd!) Since the Vancouver sisters won, they got to choose the ingredients for this month, in a competition which is becoming known as the Iron Chef of the foodie blogosphere! It’s really fun and friendly, with no pressure other than to do one’s best. So check it out!

This month’s ingredients are:
*Black Pepper

I changed my mind about three times on this, from pork ribs, to barbecue, but when my local seafood place had diver scallops for a good price, I decided on a honey-espresso glazed diver scallop meal. For a kick, I added some flash-fried prosciutto parma, because nothing goes better with scallops than some fried pork.

The ingredients:

I took a scattering of black peppercorns, and crushed them. I added them to some espresso grounds, and brewed a couple demitasses of black-pepper-espresso.

Once brewed, I started a saucepan with the espresso and 4oz of white wine (a Pinot Grigio). I simmered it gently to reduce by half.

Meanwhile, I took a shallow pot and poured in a couple inches of peanut oil. Once heated to roughly 350-370 degrees, I tossed in some pulled prosciutto parma to sear and crisp quickly — maybe 30 seconds per batch:

Meanwhile, the espresso/wine mixture had reduced a little, so I grated some lemon zest, added the zest and the juice of the lemon to the sauce, then added a tablespoon of honey.

The diver scallops I found were huge. Bigger than I expected when told they were U-10s (under 10 per pound). I cooked up four for the two of us, and that pretty much filled us up with their richness.

I seasoned them simply with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. A scant film of olive oil in a heated pan, and the scallops seared nicely.

Once seared, I threw the scallops under the broiler with some of the espresso honey glaze, to caramelize a bit, along with a bit of fresh pineapple sliced into a fan for garnish.

Plating was scallops surrounded by flash-fried prosciutto, with the pineapple garnish to the side, with some honey-espresso glaze to coat.

1 cup espresso, brewed with crushed peppercorns
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon honey

4 Diver Scallops (roughly 10-12 oz)
kosher salt and black pepper to coat
1 tbsp olive oil

1/3rd fresh pineapple, sliced thinly and fanned

Deconstruction: This was a pretty tasty scallop dish. The espresso honey glaze was pretty subtle — there was a sweet coffee taste similar to a Kahlua. The sweetness of that went pretty nicely with the sweet seared taste of the scallops. The scallops ended up perfect — it’s pretty hard to screw up diver scallops with their size. A sear on each end, a little bit of resting, and there’s not much that can go wrong. The prosciutto was interesting — I was hoping for a bacon crisp, and it ended up a little more like Canadian bacon. A bit like ham, some nice saltiness to go with the sweet. If I had to do it again, I’d probably go with thick-sliced bacon, crushed after frying, but the prosciutto wasn’t bad by any means (I just wanted some more texture to offset the tender scallops).


  1. Ginny says:

    The scallops look perfect! Delicious! :)

  2. Kathy says:

    I would be interested in more about the sauce, the idea of a black pepper espresso sauce intrigues me, are there some other application of such a sauce? or primaryily shellfish?
    Very interesting.
    Ane I have never heard of black pepper espresso…. what is the origin of this?

  3. petermarcus says:

    Ginny — Thanks!

    Kathy — There is no real origin that I can remember, other than this month’s contest. With coffee, honey, and black pepper as the three ingredients, I wanted to try brewing espresso with smashed peppercorns inside the machine along with the coffee grounds. I got a bit of pepper kick from that (more peppercorns probably would have helped), but I was also planning to use pepper on the scallops, so it worked out taste-wise.

    Before I saw the scallops, I was originally thinking of a similar sauce with pork ribs, so it might work with a ham or pork loin, too. It’d probably work with a good thick northwest fish, like halibut or salmon.

  4. Wow, Peter! Those scallops look so good. I bet the natural sweetness in them was exponentially multiplied with that fantastic glaze, and the salty prosciutto….oh man oh man…

  5. Kristen says:

    Oh my mouth is watering!

  6. Melissa says:

    I’m flabbergasted! That is truly a creative use of those ingredients. Bravo Peter.

    Only two apiece though? Nah. I could never. ;)

  7. Anita says:

    so i tried this recipe last night- it turned out well, but i had one issue- for some reason, the coffee glaze never turned into a glaze, and it was a little bitter. so although i did brush the scallops with the sauce, i couldn’t really put any of the sauce on the plate. i think even brushing them added a nice roasted flavor, though. thanks for this creative scallop suggestion!

  8. petermarcus says:

    Jenn — Thanks! It was a nice batch of flavors!

    Kristen — Thank you!

    Melissa — Actually, Christey wasn’t feeling well that night, so I had 3 and she had 1. Still, these things were really huge. Like almost palm-sized. I’d do the same with 6-8 sea scallops.

    Anita — Thanks for the feedback! I have this problem that I tinker a lot, so by the time it’s time to type up the recipe, I may not remember exact quantities. It was a loose glaze, but it was thick enough to pour over. I probably used more honey, especially since you said yours was a little bitter, or maybe I reduced it more. The sauce tasted quite a bit like Kahlua to me, and probably a little thicker.

  9. nina says:

    I can scream….we do not get scallops like that here…they are normally frozen and not 1/2 that size. I so want to try this recipe!!!!YUM!

  10. Camille says:

    I love scallops, especially when combined with fried pork! :) Good luck in the Joust!

  11. petermarcus says:

    Nina — I’ve had good luck with frozen scallops, and in fact, I bought more than I intended and froze the others. Still, these were the biggest I’ve ever found outside of a restaurant!

    Camille — Thanks! Scallops and bacon are a standard combo, so I figured why not prosciutto?

  12. Camille says:

    You inspired me to make serrano ham-wrapped scallops this week. I served them with butternut squash purée, watercress, and vanilla-cider beurre blanc. It was fabulous! Pictures coming soon on my blog. :)

  13. Suzanne says:

    This recipe looks great! I can’t wait to try it. Do you think I could make the glaze ahead of time, and then reheat it when I’m ready to cook the scallops?

  14. petermarcus says:

    Camille — Great! I’ll check it out!

    Suzanna — Definitely. I wouldn’t keep it longer than a couple days, and keep it covered in the fridge.

  15. peabody says:

    These look out of conrtol fantastic.

  16. Camille says:

    It’s finally up! Thanks again for the inspiration!

  17. Gloria says:

    Mmmm that looks fantastic, I’ll be playing around with this general idea so it’d fit a college budget.

    This has been wonderful inspiration though :)