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Seared Sea Scallops with Roasted Pears and Honey Butter

Seared Sea Scallops with Roasted Pears and Honey Butter
In my dreams I could invent dishes this good!  This spectacular treatment of diver scallops is an adaptation of a recipe given to me by Lisa Martel of On the Park, a now defunct but fondly remembered participant in the vibrant and exciting Boston South End restaurant scene in the 90's.

For another great way to prepare scallops, see Seared Scallops with Wine-Braised Leeks.

In 1992 I moved to Union Park, in Boston's South End, where there was a restaurant revolution in progress, pretty right much at the end of my street. Gordon Hammersley, cooking every night in his Red Sox hat in a storefront at the corner of Tremont Street and Union Park, was making magic and single-handedly changing the neighborhood from an edgy, maybe-too-dangerous place to an extremely hip destination.

Fast forward a few years. Condos within walking distance of Hammersley's are routinely selling for over a million bucks and the South End is the foodie destination in Boston. Every week there's another entry in the restauarant derby. Lisa was at the other end of Union Park, where hookers still prowled and it probably was a little too dangerous, running On the Park, a 34-seat restaurant, founded in 1991 and styled as a neighborhood joint. The food was as interesting as Hammersley's but half the price, every month there was a new exhibit of edgy local art on the walls, and there was always a table for the regulars. I couldn't afford Hammersley's on a regular basis, and his tables were difficult to get, but I was in On the Park every week, and it seemed like heaven.

Fast forward again to 2001 and I had a gig writing a food column for the neighborhood rag, the South End News. Of course, I interviewed Lisa for a piece, and in the course of the interview she gave me the recipe for this dish. (Click HERE to read my column about Lisa).

Another few years go by and I've relocated to Maine. I'm back in Boston on business in early 2004 and I go past Lisa's corner and see...that On the Park is no more: replaced by a pizza and panini place called Joe V. A note in the Boston Globe reported that Lisa had sold the restaurant and that she was "going to Hawaii to think about things." I remembered that in our meeting I got the feeling that she was tired, worn out from 6 days a week, working every night and cooking up 350 breakfasts every weekend.

Delivering good food every night is grindingly tough. Lisa Martel was an underappreciated contributor to the South End restaurant scene in the 90's in Boston, and I look back fondly on the meals I had in her shop. If anyone knows where Lisa Martel is and what she's doing, please let me know.ds

Seared Sea Scallops with Roasted Pears and Honey Butter

Adapted from a recipe by Lisa Martel

Serves 4

16 sea scallops
1 firm ripe Anjou pear
1 C white wine
1/2 C red shrimp broth
1/4 C honey
4 oz unsalted butter
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 T peeled, seeded and diced tomato
2 T olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
hot sauce, to taste

Halve and core the pear. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast in a 300º oven about an hour, until light brown and just tender. Cool and slice into twelve wedges. Put remaining oil in sauté pan and sear scallops quickly on one side over high heat. Remove to side plate. Add garlic,  tomatoes and wine to pan. Reduce liquid by half. Add honey and broth and bring to a simmer. Add butter, stirring constantly until it melts. Add scallops, stir, and season with salt and hot sauce. Arrange a pinwheel of 3 pear wedges on each plate. Place scallops between pinwheel arms and one at the center. Correct seasoning. Drizzle sauce over the plate to form a puddle at the center. Serve immediately.


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Hi Stephen,

First time leaving a comment!
Great blog!
What do I do without the red shrimp broth?? ;-) I don't have shrimps shells and tails to make the sauce, ah! But would love to try the recipe. Wish I could have the scallop coral!

Hi Bea...well, that's a little test to see who's reading everything...if you had clicked through to my column on Lisa Martel, you would have found that her version of the recipe is given...and that there are lots of little differences between her version and mine, one being that she used vegetable broth where I used the shrimp broth...I love the richness of the shrimp broth so every few months I gather up all the bags of shells knocking around my freezer and make the broth, which I freeze in small containers for things like this...but it's not essential to the dish...


Stephen...this is a good looking one. I think I may borrow this for the annual Valentine's Day dinner I cook for Nena.

What an incredible photo. Love the recipe and I can see how the red shrimp broth would only add to it. Yums!

Hi Stephen,

I would never have thought to pair scallops and pears. How interesting and beautiful. I can only imagine how the textures would play off of each other.

What a lovely idea ... and lovely photo as well!

I love all the ingredients in this recipe. One of the things I've learned from you is that I can save certain parts of the ingredients to use in other recipes. Like lamb broth, which you mentioned in your Wine Braised and Lamb Shanks recipe and now this red shrimp broth. Next time I make shrimps, I'll be sure to save the tails, shells, and heads to make my red shrimp broth. ;-)

Thanks, Stephen!


p.s. Very nice article on Lisa Martel. Hawaii isn't a bad place to go and think about things. I hope she's happy wherever she is.

Scallops, pear and honey butter - unusual combination. The photo is making my mouth water!

If only eyes could eat, if only I could eat that thing off the screen.

Have linked it for the my weekend food carnival...

I enjoyed the story about Lisa and did a google search and found more of her recipes. I hope you find her or perhaps she will see this and contact you...what fun that would be...Going to try the recipe. Thanks.

It looks divine. For my boyfriend who would do anything for a good scallop, I think I found my v-day recipe! Thank you.



Lisa is in California lounging and enjoying the near perfect weather. She's one of the good ones.

If you have reached Lisa, could you please tell her Lynne from Rebecca's (way back) says hi and where the heck is she, anyway?....

My wife and I went there often before we were married when she lived on Shawmut Ave. We got engaged there! What we'd really like to get is the receipe to Lisa's "Mom's Chocolate Cake"!

Um...this is Lisa Martel :) someone sent me the link to this site and I was shocked to find this "blog" referring to On The Park. Thank you to all who wrote such heart warming notes. I am living in Ojai California enjoying my life. Although I miss 315 Shawmut Ave and all the wonderful people who helped me grow my business- for the first time in a long time I am living life and loving every moment. Plus there is no snow here!! In regards to the Scallop dish recipe I always used vegetable broth but I am sure that a light shrimp broth would work as well. Now regarding my mothers chocolate cake, give me some time and I will post the recipe. I am on vacation right now and do not have the recipe on hand! It is an amazing cake and I have to say no one can make it like my mother does! Warm wishes to you all.

So great to hear this blog was able to locate Lisa.
Please get her to come back to Boston. She is a great chef and a wonderful
woman! Come on, last year there was hardly any snow.
We miss you Lisa.

Sorry, Stephen, I'm new at this.
Tell Lisa and Lynne from Rebecca's that Damon says howdy, and call me at The Barbecue Joint in Chapel Hill, NC
Love the blog, especially. Damon

lisa is my cousin and if you visit this site lisa, i just hope you are living your best life, you deserve it ...i miss you .....nancy

Wow! It's been so long but I worked at On the Park from '96-'97 while taking some time off from school. It was my first "real" cooking job. Lisa was such a great person to work with - a great mentor, teacher and friend. Lisa (and Rachel her Sous Chef) have taught me so much about life and cooking and those lessons learned are still with me. That short time at OTP has been a great foundation to me being a chef today...and yes that chocolate cake was amazing! I see from previous posts that she is in California. If anyone can forward my email to her that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

I worked with Lisa at the Bay Tower Room. Is it still called that. I have not lived in Boston since 1995, so it has been a while.

She is the best person anyone could get to know. I haven't spoke with her since I lived in Texas, about a couple of years ago. Would like to get in touch with her if she is taking any calls. How do I go about this?

Thanks for your help

P.S. That was the most amazing chocolate cake ever.
Best wishes to Lisa and hope that she is enjoying life!

Wow! I'm a friend of Lisa's and also worked at OTP for a few years in the late 90's. I have so many fond memories of sampling her fabulous cooking both inside and sitting on the step of the kitchen door. There isn't nor will there ever be a place with the feel of On the Park. I too now live in Maine. Portland has some very homey restaurant but none hold a candle to Lisa's warmth and creativity. Love ya, Lisa.

Lisa! Are you out there? Are you still reading this blog? We miss your restaurant still, everyday. And I have been searching for that chocolate cake recipe for years! Have you ever posted it?
We wish you the very best.

I found this recipe on a Google search of recipes using scallops and pears. I just made this for lunch and it was very good. I centered everything around a dollop of mashed potatoes, which ruined the presentation a little. It sure was tasty though. Thanks for sharing.

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