Monday, April 25, 2005

Scallops with Beurre Blanc

Surprisingly simple, yet seemingly gourmet, scallops are not only for company, your Monday night dinner at home is also worthy of their presence. For those of us who do not have access to fresh diver scallops (which get their name from the scuba "divers" who pick them by hand from the sea floor), frozen ones work just fine, making their use in a weeknight dinner more practical. I like Trader Joe's frozen scallops. They are sold in a one pound bag, which should provide four servings, but my husband and I just ate the entire bag. Not wanting to overpower the subtle flavor of the scallops, only to enhance it, I paired these tender morsels with a delicately flavored beurre blanc. It was right on the money, hence there are none left to photograph for this posting-sorry.

Here's the gist of the recipe, I hope you try it.
After rinsing the defrosted scallops under cold water, dry them on paper towels and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to just coat bottom of pan. When oil is hot, sear the seasoned scallops on both sides then cook until opaque. Remove scallops from pan and add about 1/2 cup white wine (I used Chadonnay) and a few sprigs of fresh thyme to skillet. Reduce on medium-high heat. When wine is reduced and no longer covers entire bottom of pan, shut off heat and add 2 to 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter 1/2 tablespoon at a time until the sauce is emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste. The sauce should taste tangy, but not sour. Additional salt and/or butter will mellow a sour taste, but be careful not to over-salt. Spoon over seared scallops and serve.

We had these with some classic mashed potatoes and bok choy sauteed with garlic and red bell pepper.

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