Although the season has been shortened, fortunately Maine’s large, sweet, meaty sea scallops are still available this year, albeit at a rather steep price. But what a fabulous once-in-a-while treat they are! If you’re lucky enough to find ultra-fresh scallops – I usually buy them off a guy in a pickup truck – and want to save some for when the season closes, put the scallops in a zip-top bag or plastic container, cover with whole milk, and freeze. They last remarkably well.

Pan-Seared Scallops with Dill Citronette

The trick to pan-searing scallops is to make sure they don’t touch each other in the pan, because if they do, juices are likely to run out and they won’t brown properly. Here, the seared scallops are sauced with a delicious (and ultra-quick) citrus-y pan sauce, a treatment that Melanie Barnard and I developed for our book, “A Flash in the Pan.” Such a centerpiece star calls for a good supporting cast that might include curried rice pilaf, braised kale, and a cozy winter dessert like gingerbread topped with whipped cream.

4 servings

1½ pounds sea scallops, small side hinge muscle removed, patted dry if necessary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons light olive oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

½ cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish

4 thin lemon slices, halved, for garnish

Season scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.

In 1 large or 2 medium-sized skillets, heat oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. When fat is hot, place scallops in the pan(s) in a single layer, without touching. Cook until scallops are seared and golden on both sides, turning carefully once with tongs, 4 to 6 minutes total. Remove to a warm platter and cover loosely with foil while making the pan sauce.

Add remaining butter to the pan and cook shallots over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring. Add wine, bring to a boil, stirring, and cook for 1 minute. Add lemon and lime juice, lemon and lime zest, and dill and simmer for 1 minute.

Drizzle scallops with the pan sauce, garnish with dill and lemon slices, and serve.

Penobscot Bay Scallop Stew

A very traditional scallop stew is white-on-white and completely unadorned, tasting of nothing more than its essential ingredients – fresh sweet scallops and pure creamery milk or cream and butter. Here’s a slight variation, treated to a contemporary “facelift,” but with its beautiful (and delicious) soul intact. Serve the stew with a salad of winter greens, sliced apples, and walnuts tossed with blue cheese dressing and a basket of toasted baguette slices. Bottled clam juice is usually shelved with the canned fish in the supermarket; canned seafood broth can usually be found with the canned chicken and beef broth.

4 servings

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups bottled clam juice or seafood broth

1 small onion, quartered

1 branch of leafy celery top, plus ¼ cup finely chopped celery

4 parsley sprigs, including stems

1 teaspoon salt

1 large bay leaf, broken in half

1¾ pounds sea scallops

2 tablespoons snipped chives or green parts of scallions

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

5 tablespoons butter

Freshly ground black pepper

Combine cream, clam juice, onion, celery top, parsley, salt and bay leaf in a large saucepan and heat over medium-low heat just until bubbles form around the edges; remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes to infuse cream with the seasoning vegetables. Strain out the vegetables and discard, returning the flavored cream to the saucepan.

Add chopped celery to the cream mixture and simmer, covered, over low heat until it softens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Remove side hinges from the scallops and if scallops are large, cut them into halves or quarters. Add scallops, chives, tarragon, marjoram, and cayenne to the cream mixture. Simmer gently, uncovered, until scallops are just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add butter, stirring until it melts. Season with freshly ground pepper and additional salt to taste. Let sit at cool room temperature for at least an hour, or refrigerate overnight. Reheat the stew very gently, ladle into shallow soup bowls, and serve.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Lobster!” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:

facebook.com/brookedojny