A few weeks ago, my daughter and I visited Staunton, Virginia…a town nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. And in this picture-perfect town, there was a contemporary farm-to-table restaurant called Zynodoa. We actually visited one of their farm partners, Polyface Farm (you need to visit this amazing place!). The dish (shown left) was incredible. So good that we went back the second night and had it again. The dish: pan-seared Atlantic sea scallops ~ bacon braised zucchini & squash ~ lemongrass risotto ~ and a cherry gastrique. The cherry gastrique brought the dish together. I just knew I had to go home and try to make it.
So, what the heck is a gastrique? Basically, it is a reduction of sugar (I used honey for paleo purposes) and flavorings (cherries, in this case), deglazed with vinegar. I’m sure there is a more technical way of making this sauce and explaining it, but for home cooking purposes, I have put together a pretty good replica that is easy to make.
- In a medium saucepan over high heat, place cherries, ghee, minced onion, honey, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, orange zest, and a pinch of salt. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Let cool. In a small food processor or blender, pulse saucepan ingredients until smooth.
- In a medium skillet, add a little avocado oil (or preferred cooking oil) and heat on medium. Add scallops (not touching each other ~ give them plenty of room so they don’t steam each other). Cook for 2 minutes. Flip the scallops and depending on the thickness of the scallops, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Plate scallops and drizzle the cherry gastrique around the scallops.