A Very Versatile Sauce – Saffron Orange Sauce

Seared scallops, orange sauce and steamed samphire.

Seared scallops served with an orange sauce and steamed samphire.


This simple reduction sauce is naturally bursting with flavour and with colour. It is easy to make and is extremely effective and versatile.  The recipes below outline how to serve this delicious sauce with  seared Scallops and with Asparagus. I also outline further ideas for its use at the bottom of the page.

The sauce is best made at least a few hours  before it is needed to allow the saffron to impart its full flavour and colour. It could also be made the day before and stored in the fridge. Reheating instructions are provided.

Saffron Orange Sauce:

Serves 4

100ml fresh unsalted fish stock

150ml fresh orange juice

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

200ml double cream

a twist or two of freshly ground black pepper

Put the fish stock and orange juice into a pan and boil over a moderately high heat to reduce the liquid by half. Crumble in the saffron threads and add the cream. Bring the sauce back to the boil and bubble until the volume is reduced by about a third and the sauce coats the back of the spoon.  Remove from the heat, cover and leave in a cool place for a few hours to allow the saffron to infuse. The sauce will thicken as it cools. To reheat put the pan over a low heat and stir occasionally while the cream loosens. Bring the sauce back to the boil and simmer for a few minutes to heat it well through.

Seared Scallops served with Saffron Orange Sauce, crispy fried breadcrumbs and steamed samphire.

Pan Seared Scallops

Seared Scallops served with Saffron Orange Sauce and Steamed Samphire. To secure the scallop shells sit them on a teaspoon of flaked sea salt.

Serves 4

1 quantity orange saffron sauce

2 stalks of fresh dill, leaves only chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tablespoon butter

100g fresh breadcrumbs

200g fresh samphire,

8-12 fresh scallops depending on their size

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Make one quantity of Saffron Orange Sauce.

Put the oil and the breadcrumbs into a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Stir to make sure that the breadcrumbs are fully coated with the oil. Cook slowly moving the gently browning crumbs so that they cook evenly.  Have ready a plate covered with a wad of kitchen paper and when the crumbs are evenly golden  tip them onto the absorbent paper. Set aside until required. If you are making them in advance then gently reheat  in the frying pan before serving.

Soak the Samphire in a couple of changes of fresh water for a couple of hours before cooking otherwise it can be very salty. Steam or boil for no more than 4 minutes before draining and serving. For this dish cook the samphire and keep it warm just before the scallops.

Reheat the Saffron Orange sauce as instructed above and stir in most of the freshly chopped dill, reserving a little for garnish.

Make sure the scallops are  dry and sprinkle each with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the oil and the butter into a large sauté or frying pan over a high heat. When the fat begins to smoke, gently add the scallops making sure they are not touching. Sear for 1 1/2 minutes on each side for large scallops, and a little less for smaller ones. They should be golden on both sides, still  plump, and translucent in the centre. When the scallops are cooked drain them on kitchen paper before plating.

Arrange the cooked Scallops on warm plates or in clean scallop shells, coat with the warm saffron orange sauce, sprinkle over a tablespoon of the fried bread crumbs and the remaining fresh dill. Arrange the steamed samphire on each plate and served at once.

Steamed Asparagus served with Saffron Orange Sauce, crispy fried breadcrumbs.

Steamed Asparagus, Saffron Orange Sauce, fried breadcrumbs

Steamed Asparagus with Saffron Orange Sauce and fried breadcrumbs

serves 4

1 quantity Saffron Orange Sauce

100g fresh breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons olive oil

6-8 large spears of asparagus per person


Cook the breadcrumbs as above.

Reheat the Saffron orange sauce as above.

Steam the Asparagus for 5-6 minutes and then drain well and dry on kitchen paper. Serve on warm plates draped in the orange sauce and sprinkled with breadcrumbs.

Other suggestions for serving this sauce:

This sauce is also good with the following: Steamed broccoli spears served with pan fried slivered almonds, steamed chicken fillets, roast salmon fillets, Sea bass stuffed with fennel,  or any white fish fillet seared or steamed.








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