Scallops with ginger, lime buerre blanc sauce

When I saw this recipe, I knew I needed to make it, as soon as possible. And man, I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a bit more expensive than the usual gourmet on a budget features I write about, but spending the extra money is worth it. I found scallops on sale (which happens fairly often) so I feel confident using that price, making it more affordable.

So this recipe fuses Asian flavors with French techniques: with the cilantro, lime, and ginger and a classic French sauce (that sounds oh so intimidating, but isn’t) – beurre blanc. A friend who isn’t terribly into cooking pretty much made the buerre blanc while I was searing the scallops, so yes, reader, you can do it too. There’s even some Italian in there with a gremolata.

Budget: $18, serves 4, $4.50 a person.

Recipe details after the jump.

A regular feature in which I cook cheap, gourmet meals.


  • 1.5 lbs of scallops – $15 (on sale for $10/lb at Harris Teeter)
  • canola oil (pantry)
  • 1.5 tbs of cilantro ($1.80 for large bunch, about 50 cents for amount used)
  • 1 clove of garlic (pantry)
  • 1 lime (about 70 cents)
  • 1 shallot (about 50 cents)
  • 1 tbs ginger ($3/lb, maybe 50 cents for amount used)
  • .25 cup of white wine ($6.50 for Yellowtail  Pinot Grigio, about 50 cents for amount used)
  • 6 tbs or so of unsalted butter ($2 for a pound, about 50 cents)

Total: $18.20, not bad! The largest expense is clearly the scallops.


  • Mince the shallot, garlic, cilantro, and grate ginger on microplane. Also, zest lime, then juice it.
  • Put shallot, ginger, white wine, lime juice in small sauce pan on low-ish heat – keep an eye on it.
  • Mix cilantro, garlic, and lime zest in bowl (this is your gremolata) and set aside.
  • Heat saute pan with some canola oil, pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Sear scallops, cooking 2-3 minutes per side, until opaque throughout.
  • Meanwhile, once your sauce has reduced to about 2 tbs of liqiuid, start adding butter, 1 tbs or so at a time, whisking constantly (it helps to have a sous chef to handle this). Right before last bit of butter melts, add more until you’ve added all the butter. This is your beurre blanc (wasn’t hard, right?) Season with salt and pepper if desired (this sauce was so damn good I really didn’t need to season it).
  • To serve: spoon beurre blanc over scallops, top with cilantro/garlic/lime gremolata. And enjoy!