|Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon-Basil Beurre Blanc, Pancetta, Apple and Fennel|
I hate Valentine's Day. Don't get me wrong; I can appreciate the sentiment but let's look at what the day has become over the years for us guys: First, we get to spend $150 for a dozen roses that can be bought for $20 the other fifty-one weeks of the year on top of a box of chocolates that will come back to bite us in the ass the first week of March when our lady asks do I look fat?. Then we get to go to a local fine dining establishment where you can get up close and personal...with the couple two tables over because you can hear their conversation as you're packed in the building like sardines.
I have a better idea. Unfortunately, you're on your own with the florists and confectioners, but why not take the time to cook at home? This week, the team at #SundaySupper Movement decided to tackle Valentine's Day recipes for two to help out.
In terms of the dish itself, I wanted to achieve redemption with this dish on a couple of levels. First, I was not satisfied with the sear on the scallops dish I published about a year ago. Second, a couple of weeks ago I had problems adding butter to a sauce so I wanted to address the issue head on.
I relied heavily on The Flavor Bible for the flavor profiles of the dish but got a little help from The Atlantic magazine and some inspiration from Green Spot Blue
1 Granny Smith apple, julienned
1 small fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 ounces pancetta, diced
6 to 8 sea scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot, chopped fine
1 cup white wine
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, but kept refrigerated until used
1. Place the apples and fennel into a bowl of ice water and set aside.
2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a medium sauté pan. Once hot, add the pancetta and render fat but don't let it crisp, approximately 5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Pat the scallops dry and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Once hot, add the scallops and sear on one side only, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside to allow for carryover cooking while the sauce is prepared.
4. For the beurre blanc, combine the shallot, wine and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the mixture until it's nearly dry (approximately 3 tablespoons). Reduce the heat to low and whisk in 2 to 3 cubes of butter, continually whisking until melted. Once melted, repeat the procedure with additional cubes until all the butter is used. Control the heat of the sauce by whisking off heat if necessary so the sauce does not separate. It should be thick and creamy. Add in the basil to wilt for 1 minute and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
5. For presentation, spoon some sauce onto a plate, top with 3 to 4 scallops, then scatter the apples, pancetta and fennel and serve.
First, since I didn't mark my two year anniversary of this blog properly, I wanted to note here that this is my 100th post.
For the scallops I went over to Whole Foods but found fresh ones to be very pricey. The frozen ones were a little better but in talking to their employee who works behind the seafood counter, the reason I had so much trouble with them last time is because of the nitrates used to preserve frozen scallops that are sold in many supermarkets. The ones I bought didn't contain any that weren't naturally occurring and I was happier with the sear I achieved.
One other revelation I had was when I dined at Arcadia about a month ago. (If you'll remember, I ate scallops that evening too.) Before I ate, I turned the scallops over and noticed that they were only seared on one side but were still cooked through, so I attempted the technique here and was successful.
The sauce also didn't break this time. In fact, it was the highlight of the dish.
If I prepare this dish again, I might treat the apples and fennel with a vinaigrette.
Overall, I'm very proud of this dish. It was the most well balanced plate of food I've conceptualized in both flavor and texture. In addition, I'm also pleased with it's presentation, as I consider it the prettiest I've constructed to date.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Other Sunday Supper Participants
And finally, please check out this week's other Sunday Supper contributors:
- Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Ricotta from Casa de Crews
- Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade from Shockingly Delicious
- Southwestern Meatballs wrapped in Bacon from Momma’s Meals
- Almond-Crusted Sole with Mushroom Pilaf for Two from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Bacon Crusted Beer Mac and Cheese from Melanie Makes
- Baked Crab Cakes with Lemongrass-Ginger Mayo from The Weekend Gourmet
- Baked Pasta with Sausage and Fontina from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Baked Tilapia En Papillote from It’s Yummi!
- Chicken and Mushroom Alfredo from Cookin’ Mimi
- Drunken Snow Crabs from Family Foodie
- Eggs in Purgatory from Noshing with the Nolands
- Flambéed Veal Chops from MealDiva
- Homemade Philly Cheesesteak Stromboli from In The Kitchen With KP
- Meyer Lemon Butter Sauce Prawns with Linguine from Food Lust People Love
- Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon-Basil Beurre Blanc, Pancetta, Apples and Fennel from Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Pan-Seared Scallops with Linguine and Tomato-Cream Sauce from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Roasted Vegetable Lasagna for Two from Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
- Salmon Pakoras from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Swiss Fondue for Two from Curious Cuisiniere
- White Queso Mac and Cheese for Two from Daily Dish Recipes
Decadent Desserts and Drinks:
- Baked Custard from Magnolia Days
- Cherry Spritzer Ice Cream Float from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Chocolate Budino with Strawberry Hearts from Manu’s Menu
- Chocolate Malt Bread Pudding from Alida’s Kitchen
- Chocolate Marshmallow Duets from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chocolate Pots de Crème from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Fresh Berry Parfait with Crème Anglaise from Hip Foodie Mom
- Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Sauce from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Funfetti Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle from Take a Bite Out of Boca
- German Rose Water Sugar Cookies For Two from Killer Bunnies, Inc.
- Gluten Free Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles from Gluten Free Crumbley
- Gluten-Free Deep Dish Hot Fudge Brownies for Two from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Ice Cream Stuffed Crepes with Nutella and Fresh Berries from Neighborfood
- Malawian Mbatata Cookies with Coconut Cream from Happy Baking Days
- Orange-scented Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce for Two from girlichef
- Pecan-Crusted Coconut Custards with Brandied Banana Sauce from The Texan New Yorker
- Pistachio Pudding For Two (From Scratch) from Chocolate Moosey
- 3 Japanese-Style Treats for Your Sweet from Ninja Baking
- Valentine’s Cupcakes with a Surprise from From the Bookshelf
- White Hot Chocolate from Pies and Plots
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