Seared scallops with grapefruit and vanilla

An easy, elegant, dinner-party worthy dish!

I first tasted the heavenly combination of fish, grapefruit and vanilla at one of Ottawa’s consistently delightful restaurants, The Wellington Gastropub. While Chef Chris Deraiche’s dish featured salmon as the centrepiece, I have long suspected the same flavours would be equally delicious with scallops – and I was right! This recipe has vaulted to the very top of my list of dishes that I would eat day after day if I could. Buy the biggest, freshest scallops you can find and transform them into something magical thanks to this outstanding sauce.


  • 1 large pink or ruby red grapefruit
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely diced shallots
  • 4 tablespoons (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) white wine
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) rice vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds (1 kg) sea scallops
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced chives


  • With a sharp knife, cut the peel and white pith off the grapefruit. Working over a bowl to catch the juice, cut out the segments of the grapefruit, leaving the membrane behind. Put the segments in one bowl and the juice in another.
  • Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean pod and add to the grapefruit juice; refrigerate until needed.
  • In a small frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat, then add the shallots and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the white wine and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the rice vinegar and grapefruit juice. Add grapefruit segments. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Remove and discard any muscle tabs still attached to the sides of the scallops.
  • Pat the scallops dry with paper towels then dust lightly with salt and pepper.
  • In a large non-stick frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallops, cover with a splatter screen if you have one, and cook until they are golden brown on one side (2 – 4 minutes), turn over and cook another 2 – 4 minutes until both sides are golden and the scallops are almost firm to the touch.
  • While scallops finish cooking, heat the grapefruit sauce for 2 minutes over medium heat.
  • Divide the scallops evenly among four plates. Spoon the sauce and grapefruit segments over top. Sprinkle with chives to finish.

Serves 4.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

10 thoughts

    1. I adore scallops. Today I heard hubby on the phone telling someone “these ones” (aka using this recipe) were the best he’d ever eaten! Hope you enjoy!

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