Thursday, December 17, 2009
Scallops in a Beurre Blanc Sauce with Artichokes
Jean-Marc, you are going to want to read on for some tips on cooking scallops.
Judith, you should probably not read this post as you may want to drive 10 hours to come here and beat us over the head for serving your favourite dish without you.
Best. Scallops. Ever. My husband was sure I said that the last time he made this (which was quite a while ago, before my blog even.) These round morsels straight from heaven are like candy. I could have eaten 20 of them. Rich, yes. Too rich? Not if I can eat that many! The silky sauce makes what would have been an 80 calorie dish, about 600, at least. And the only reason is because you want to douse every last bite in it. The flavour is very light, with a slight tang. We scooped up so much with each artichoke leaf, scraping the meat off with our teeth and savouring every second.
I'll start with the cooking of the scallops. How does my husband make them so perfectly golden brown? You have to dry them first. Never put a wet, slimy scallop in a pan. He normally just dries them by wrapping them in a paper towel to get the moisture off. Today he put flour on them and then shook off the excess (careful not to leave too much flour on them, you want to get most of it off. It's like dredging meat before browning it.)
This classic French beurre blanc sauce is worth every second of your time (and doesn't even require that much). Heat 1/4 cup of white wine, 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar, a little bit of chopped shallots (or green onion) in a pot slowly. Reduce to about half or less. At this point, my husband cheated by adding a tiny bit of cream so the sauce wouldn't break when he added the butter. The cream helps to bind the butter. Real chefs would NEVER do this. Dice 1 to 1 1/2 cups of butter into inch cubes – they must be cold – and add 2 to 3 blocks at a time while whisking over the lowest possible heat. This may take a bit of time, don't rush it. Add a bit of salt at the end and pour over the scallops. I almost started to cry when I finished my last one. If I could just start over. You never want a meal like this to end.
For the artichokes, steam them in a mixture of water, cloves of garlic and a bay leaf. They're so fun to eat. My husband actually made these for me on our first date almost 10 years ago. It's no wonder I married him!!
Seriously, if you want to impress anyone, this is the meal to go with. Serve with a great glass of wine, like this 2006 Cunha Martins wine from Portugal (yeah-yeah, a white would have probably gone better, but in my book, red goes with everything, even the heavier ones). This one is currently $2 off in the LCBO vintages, and so delicious.
We even have some leftover sauce for breakfast! Best hollandaise sauce ever.