Maine Diver Sea Scallops with Fennel Confit, Crispy Pancetta, and Parsley Sauce

  • Yield: 6 servings


6 live sea scallops
2 fennel bulbs
1/4cup extra virgin olive oil
2 stars anise
6 then slices of pancetta
6tablespoons parsley oil


  1. Cut the fennel in half from top to bottom.  Cut out the root from the bottom.  Lay the fennel bulbs down on the flat side and shave them into thin slices.  Place them in a sauce pan with the virgin olive oil, star anise, and some course sea salt.  Cook the finnel on the lowest temperature of your stove top for 30 minutes.  Lay the slices of pancetta on a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 10 mintues at 350F.
  2. To clean the scallops, insert a long thin sharp knife down the inside of the flat shell to cut the scallop mussel from one side of the shell.  Now you will be able to separate the shells.  Discard the flat shell.  Pull the scallop body away from the white mussel that keeps the shell together.  If you notice a bright orange egg sack, you can leave that to cook with the scallop.  Slice the scallop out of the bottom shell and keep the shell for presentation.  Heat a cast iron skillet or steel pan over medium high heat.  Place a spoonful of the fennel oil from the cooked fennel in the saute pan.
  3. Season the scallops with salt and pepepr and place them in the pan.  Saute the scallops 2 minutes on each side.  Transfer the scallops to a warm plate.
  4. To serve, place a folded napkin on each of the six plates.  Warm the shells of the scallops in the oven and place them on the napkins.  Spoon some of the fennel on each shell and top it with the scallop.  Place a tablespoon of the parsley oil around each scallop.  Stick the crispy pancetta on the side of each shell.

Recipe reprinted with permission from A Life by the Sea by: Chef Dean James Max (Boca Raton, Fl., 2005).