Scallops on artichoke bottoms in a tahini sauce

March 12, 2010  •  Category:


This recipe is based on a classic dish  in Lebanese cuisine called tagen.  Tagen is a fish stew that is composed of fish with  caramelized onions bathing in a tahini and lemon sauce.

I found some frozen artichoke bottoms at the middle-eastern grocer  imported from Egypt. Artichoke bottoms are very popular  in the near-east and are usually covered with minced lamb and pine nuts.

I made  the tagen but used  scallops instead of the traditional seabass (or other mediterranean fish); and whereas the traditional tagen is served in a big platter, I used the artichoke bottoms to hold each individual scallop.


  • 1 bag of artichoke bottoms or 1 can
  • 1 pound of either bay or sea scallops
  • 4 ounces of tahini
  • 4 ounces of water
  • 3 ounces of fresh lemon juice (one large lemon)
  • 1 large onion
  • a teaspoon or more of turmeric (optional), some black pepper and salt to taste
  • olive oil as needed
  • chopped parsley as a garnish


  1. Cook the artichoke bottoms by boiling them or steaming them; if using canned ones, boil them a few minutes as well. Set aside.

  1. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and fry the onion cut in rings until it turns golden-brown. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place the onion rings evenly all over the artichoke bottoms in an oven-proof plate (like a pie plate for instance).
  2. Sprinkle the scallops with turmeric and salt and black pepper. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet for a couple of minutes and when hot drop the scallops and sear on both sides. Remove and set aside.

  1. Make the tahini sauce: Juice the lemon; pour the tahini in a bowl, add the lemon and stir; the tahini will curdle then get thick; gradually add the water, stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth and very liquid. Pour the sauce on top of the artichoke bottoms and place in a preheated oven at 375F for about 20 minutes.
  2. Place the scallops in the artichoke bottoms the last 5 minutes of baking (or less, depending on how much you cooked them previously).
  3. Bake until the sauce has set or looks ready, about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the quantities used. Serve either at room temperature or warm over rice, garnished with chopped parsley.


38 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Natashya says:

    They look wonderful! I will look for artichoke bottoms at our local Persian Market.

  2. Preety says:

    that looks so your clicks

  3. anncoo says:

    This looks easy to cook and wonderful. Wonder I can get artichoke bottoms here.

  4. Mimi says:

    What a fantastic recipe for scallops, simple and elegant.

  5. sweetlife says:

    what a great dish..I love this so different but it makes for an outstanding presentation


  6. Sushma Mallya says:

    Whenever i visit your blog i feel so happy to learn a new dish and such beautiful pictures of it…this seems wonderful…

  7. Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes says:

    Wow, I love scallops! These look gorgeous.

  8. The Little Teochew says:

    Wow, aren’t they elegant? I would imagine the oohs and ahhs when you serve them.

  9. MaryMoh says:

    Looks very delicious. I have never cooked scallops or artichokes. Time to give it a try.

  10. sophia says:

    This ought to be in a 5-star restaurant’s menu!! Wow! How exquisite is that? I don’t actually really like scallops…but now I know why!! It was missing a butt! The artichoke butt, and the tahini sauce! Mmm!

  11. Angie@Angie's Recipe says:

    Simply a piece of art! I can always count on you for some restaurant quality creations!

  12. Cherine says:

    I LOOOOOOOVE this!!! I will definitely try them.
    Your recipe is wonderful!!! 🙂

  13. My Carolina Kitchen says:

    What gorgeous scallops and the presentation is spectacular. Scallops are one of our favorites. The turmeric gave them a lovely color too. Thanks for stopping by my kitchen and leaving a comment. It’s very nice to meet you.

  14. Mathai says:

    Nice combination of ingredients! I’ll have to try it sometime.

  15. Joanne says:

    I’m not the biggest scallop fan but artichokes are basically one of my favorite veggies…and I’ve been looking for a good tahini sauce recipe. That I will definitely be trying soon! The meal looks fabulous though…excellent presentation.

  16. Louise says:

    I have had such a craving for scallops as of late. Now, I know exactly how I will prepare them when I get my fingers on some fresh ones. Scallops, artichoke bottoms and Tahini, it doesn’t get much better than that!!! Thank you so much for sharing, Joumana.

    Rosa from Rosa’s Yummy Yums made a beautiful barberry pilaf that may just be the perfect side for your gorgeous scallops. I left your link over at her blog too:)

    Thank you so very much for sharing…

  17. northshorewoman says:

    this recipe of arti-bottoms and scallops in a white lemony sauce looks like a dream come down to earh. if i had time to cook i would enter this white space

  18. ♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ says:

    stunning photos..they make me crave for it badly… I love the way it was seared… and yeah im lost for words describing it because I just want to take a bite right now!

  19. Maninas says:

    How very creative. I’m impressed.

  20. peter says:

    Anytime I need artichokes out of season, Good ‘ole Nasr Foods has frozen and jarred artichokes. The presentation is an eye catcher (look over there so I can snatch one)!

  21. oum mouncifrayan says:

    une belle présentation! bravo

  22. pity says:

    I love all the ingredients in this recipe, its a delicious combo! and your blog is fantastic, I will definitely be back! cheers from london

  23. Faith says:

    What a pretty, elegant dish! The artichoke bottoms are the perfect little vessels to hold the scallops!

  24. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella says:

    This is very interesting Joumana 😀 I’ve never really seen scallop dishes at Lebanese restaurants but as I love them I’ll really seek this dish out next time I do go (perhaps I wasn’t reading closely enough as I always order my classic favourites hehe) 🙂

  25. the wicked noodle says:

    Although I just finished dinner, I’m quite certain that I could still make room for something as delicious as this! Definitely going on my must-try list!

  26. Kristi Rimkus says:

    I love the combination of ingredients in this dish. The artichoke hearts are perfect for the scallops!

  27. zurin says:

    I love the presentation ! they look very elegant n perfect for a dinner party! very creative.indeed. tq for dropping by 😉

  28. El says:

    I can’t get over how elegant this dish is. What a wonderful dish to serve to guests. Stunning!

  29. Nadjibella says:

    Les photos sont tellement parlantes qu’on en oublie presque de lire la recette.
    Je connaissais cette recette avec la viande hachée.
    La tienne me fait plus envie.
    A bientôt.

  30. Lori says:

    These are a thing of beauty. I just love the presentation here. Not to mention the flavors. My mouth just goes totally crazy while I visit your site. I actually bought some pomegranate syrup the other day because I want to do that fava stew recipe of yours.

  31. T.W. Barritt says:

    These look absolutely beautiful – like little jewels from the sea!

  32. TastyTrix says:

    Artichoke bottoms are like muffin tops – the best part! I am salivating.

  33. 5 Star Foodie says:

    A fabulous preparation of scallops, I love the flavors and the presentation!

  34. Orlece says:

    Yeah, it’s good, very useful, thanks 🙂

  35. Tim Friese says:

    Very much enjoyed the blog! Found it looking for scallop / seafood recipes for a supper club I’m doing tomorrow of Lebanese mezze. I look forward to more posts 🙂

  36. Ivan waldman says:

    Your instructions as far as cooking times are confusing and conflicting with each other.

  37. Joumana says:

    @IvanWaldman which part of the instructions is confusing to you?

Add a Comment