Scallops Beurre Blanc hits the spot when you crave something luscious that will be fast to prepare and won’t get the kitchen hot. It’s perfect for that special dinner for two or two plus two of your closest friends. If you have an open plan kitchen/dining set up try making it while you enjoy your guests. It’s that fast! Now let’s get started:
What is it?
It’s lightly grilled or sauteed scallops floating atop one of the foundation sauces of French cuisine, Beurre Blanc.
What do you need?
- Scallops (or any other fish or shellfish lightly seared)
- Dry white wine or wine vinegar
- One big lemon
- Olive Oil
- Optional Cognac or Bourbon (some for the sauce and some for you)
Pretty simple, eh?
Searing the Scallops
It’s easy but of critical importance to dry off the scallops. If you purchased them frozen they will throw off a lot of liquid, even if fresh they will be juicy. So blot them well on paper towels. This will help form a crust. Then you’ll heat a pan, pour in the oil, and when it gets fairly hot place the scallops in and don’t move them. Let me repeat: Don’t move them. When they have formed a brown crust on the bottom they’ll release and you can flip them.
Once cooked for several minutes on the flip side cover the pan, set aside, and start the sauce.
Making the sauce
The sauce is the star so careful attention to its preparation is key. It’s not difficult but you cannot step away from the stove. However, fear not! It goes so quickly you won’t be bored or impatient.
Get a saucepan and put in the shallots, wine & lemon juice. The traditional prep for the sauce used a dry Loire Valley wine called Muscadet. This works well as does any dry white or white wine vinegar. Cook over medium heat until almost everything has evaporated. I used wine vinegar here and it worked well. You’ll have a tablespoon or two left at most. The shallots should be clear and not browned at all.
Make sure the butter is cold and cut into tablespoons. Now drop in the butter and incorporate each piece fully before adding the next piece. Once that is done season with salt and pepper and cognac or bourbon and add to the scallops.
And note: The sauce should be fully emulsified. That means that no globs of oil are floating around. If they are you have too much butter. So play it by ear when adding the butter and add it gradually. Once the sauce is smooth and creamy you’re done. You may need a little more or less butter than called for but let the consistency of the sauce be your guide.
If you faithfully follow these instructions you’ll have a wonderful tangy but silky sauce in which to place your scallops. And note: this is a great sauce for any sauteed fish so file that away in your brain pan!
What goes with it?
Besides your gaping maw?? Pretty much any starch. It could be pasta, rice, or couscous. If you decide to serve it as an appetizer you may want to skip the starch altogether.
If you go the couscous route try this version of Israeli Couscous. You already have the lemon and parsley for the Scallops so it’s a no-brainer! And good news. The couscous cooks up well in the rice cooker saving you more time and trouble.
Prefer exotic rice? Try this Turkish version: Or just reliable rice cooker rice that you made ahead. It will all be delicious!
And that’s a wrap kids! Enjoy your scallops and your sauce and don’t forget to make it often whenever a nice fish swims into your pond!
- For the scallops:
- 1 pound sea scallops, blotted with paper towels
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Cognac (or Bourbon)
- For the sauce:
- 1 shallot, diced finely (about 2 tablespoons)
- ½ cup dry white wine (or wine vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 dash freshly ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Parsley or chives for garnish
- For the scallops:
- Heat to medium high a non stick or stainless steel pan. Pour in two tablespoons olive oil. Place scallops in pan and cook for several minutes until they release and browned on the bottom.
- Cook opposite side for several minutes until done. Cover and set aside.
- At this point you may pour the cognac over the cooked scallops & set it alight or add later to the finished sauce.
- For the sauce:
- Simmer shallots, white wine, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until mixture is reduced to about 2 tablespoons.
- Then turn the heat down very slightly and add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly. Be sure to allow 1 pat of butter to melt before adding the next.
- Once butter is fully incorporated, whisk cornstarch into cream and add to sauce. Season beurre blanc sauce with white pepper and set aside.
- Spoon warm beurre blanc sauce over hot scallops and serve.
- Garnish with parsley or chives.
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