Seared Scallops with Tomato Fennel Jam

Chef Joel Gamoran’s Easy At-Home Recipe

Joel Gamoran, resident Chef from Sur La Table, shares his easy at-home recipe that will be sure to impress your dinner guests.


  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium minced garlic clove
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced fronds reserved
  • 1–inch piece size of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced serrano chili
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/4 cup good-quality tomato juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound Sea Scallops, patted dry with paper towel
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the jam:

  1. Place the cherry tomatoes, garlic, fennel, ginger, chili, sugar, cumin, cinnamon and fennel seeds in a small sauce pan and place on the stove over a moderate heat to cook, until the tomatoes just start to break down, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour in the tomato juice and bring to a boil, then reduce the stove heat to a simmer.
  3. Allow the jam cook uncovered on a low heat until the mixture looks shiny and smooth, about 1 hour.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper and serve. Alternatively, the jam can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days.

To cook the scallops:

  1. Place a nonstick pan on the stove over a medium high heat. Add the butter and oil until the butter is melted.
  2. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and carefully place he scallop into the pan.
  3. Sear the first side of the scallop until golden in color and crispy, about 3 minutes. Do not move the scallops as they will build a crust as they cook. Using tongs, flip the scallops and brown the other side for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. To serve: Place a heaped spoonful of the tomato jam onto a plate and top with scallops and sprinkle with reserved fennel frons. Serve with polenta, rice or roasted seasonal vegetables.

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