Seared scallops have such a beautiful texture and are best served quite simply. In this recipe chef Thomas Johns marries them with tomato, fennel and citrus to create a beautiful entree.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (4 votes)


  • 1 whole orange, zested and segmented
  • 200 ml sugar syrup (see Note)
  • 250 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 500 ml (2 cups) olive oil
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 25 g butter
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced on a mandoline, fennel top finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 12 scallops


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat oven to 80°C. Blanch orange zest twice in boiling water and refresh in ice water. When cool, finely slice and dip into the sugar syrup, place on a baking tray and put in oven until dry and crispy. Place orange segments on separate tray and place in oven at same time, also to dry. Cut each segment into three pieces when dry.

Pour orange juice into pan and reduce to a syrup slowly on stove, skimming any impurities as it reduces.

Score the skin on the base of the tomatoes and blanch in boiling water for 10 seconds, remove and place into ice water. Remove skin and section each tomato into thirds. Remove seeds and vein and cut into rounds using a 4 cm diameter cutter. Place into olive oil with salt and pepper, thyme and garlic and leave on a gentle heat until soft (do not boil).

While tomatoes are cooking slowly, melt butter in a small saucepan, reserve 2 tablespoons of the shaved fennel for garnish, add remaining shaved fennel to the pan, season with salt and sweat down without colour. After five minutes, add 2 tablespoons water, the cream and the chopped fennel top and cook for a further two minutes more rapidly.

Blitz fennel with a hand held stick blender until smooth, strain through a fine seive. Spoon fennel puree down middle of plate, place small amount of shaved fennel on puree. Place three rounds of tomato on fennel, leaving a gap between each.

Cook scallops in a little olive oil in hot pan (not smoking) for 1 minute on one side, turn over count to 5, remove and place on kitchen towel. Place each scallop on a tomato round, top with a piece of orange segment, then zest and finish with drizzle of orange syrup.


To make sugar syrup combine equal amounts of water and sugar in a small saucepan, stirring as it comes to the boil. Set aside to cool.