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Caramelizing Tip from Chef Brian Held

Caramelizing Tip From Chef Brian Held

Nestled on a side street in the charming town of Lambertville NJ, you will find a gem of a restaurant, Brian’s aptly named after the chef/owner Brian Held.

Brian, a CIA trained chef, opened Brian’s in 2012, creating European inspired cuisine.

On any given weekend, you’ll see Brian at the Stockton market picking up his order of fish from Metropolitan Seafood and greens from Blue Moon Acres to turn into a dish to savour.

Pictured here, caramelized sea scallops with mascarpone ravioli in a porcini broth…  it was delicious, so light and flavorful and the scallops were perfect.  We asked him for a tip on the best way to caramelize scallops, he was only too happy to oblige. But of course, he wasn’t about to divulge his secret to the ravioli or porcini broth…

Best to make a reservation and taste for yourself!

Brian’s – 9 Kline Court, Lambertville, NJ (609) 460-4148

Also, check out NOLA, Brians other restaurant across from the Stockton market on Bridge Street in Stockton NJ .

Caramelizing Tip:


Method for properly seasoning sea scallops

When using diver or jumbo scallops, season approximately 15 minutes in advance, this will allow the salt to permeate the scallop, creating a quick curing process. It Is preferred to use sea salt or kosher salt for this technique. Be sure to season evenly with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Searing scallops
  1. Begin with a very hot sauté pan, a high-quality nonstick works very well, but not required.
  2. Add enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. When the oil is extremely hot, carefully add the scallops one of the time, being careful to not get splashed with Hot oil.
  3. Allow the scallops to sit still and properly caramelize. Carefully lift them periodically to check for caramelization. After a base caramelization has begun, you can move the scallops around with a pair of tongs to reposition them for even caramelization.
  4. When the scallops have a beautiful deep caramel color, turn them over and sear the other side.
  5. If the scallops are extremely large, you may have to finish in the oven. Remove the scallops from the pan and place on a paper towel to blot the excess oil.
  6. Use a neutral flavored oil, such as grapeseed, canola or very light olive oil. ( extra-virgin is too powerful). It is very important not to crowd the pan with scallops. If you pack the scallops in too tight, they will steam and not become properly caramelized.

Bon appétit!

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