Small Casserole of Scallops with Tarragon
Makes 4 servings
I was not prepared for the way this dish felt in my mouth. "It's all in the temperature and the timing," said Odile, who served these for lunch one freezing Sunday in early March. She was careful to cook them in a tightly sealed casserole at a high temperature. When you make the sauce, it will be rather thick, in order that the jus released from the scallops will bring it to the proper consistency. These scallops are so creamy that the sauce seems to be an extension of their essence. Serve them with rice pilaf.
4 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 cup dry vermouth or herbaceous dry white wine,
such as Muscadet or Vouvray
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped,
or 1 teaspoon dried
1-1/2 pounds large sea scallops
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
2. In a small saucepan, cook the shallots in the butter over medium heat until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the vermouth and mustard and cook, stirring, until the liquid thickens, about 8 minutes. Add the cream, salt, and pepper. If using dried tarragon, add it now. Cook until the mixture thickens again, then remove from the heat.
3. Place the scallops in a small Dutch oven, sprinkle with the fresh tarragon, if using, and pour the sauce over the scallops. Cover and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven, stir in the chives, and serve immediately.
Scallops, coquilles St-Jacques in French, are named for Saint James, whose shrine in Compostela, Spain, was a major site of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages. Pilgrims to the shrine carried few belongings and the round deep shell of the scallop served as a kind of mess kit-to sip water from and to place food on. Owning a scallop shell was a sign that one had made the pilgrimage and it gave one a certain status.
Parisian Home Cooking
Conversations, Recipes, and Tips from the
Cooks and Food Merchants of Paris
By Michael Roberts
William Morrow & Company
Hardcover, $25.00, June 1999
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created July 1999
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