Most of us are familiar with Botticelli’s painting called the Birth of Venus. In this beautiful painting, the goddess is emerging from the sea standing on a scallop shell. To me, this painting emphasizes beauty, self-reliance and elegance.
In the world of food scallops are a delicacy that deserve special attention when being prepared. They are a tender and delicate, sweet and flavorful seafood. There are many varieties of scallops, bay scallops being the small ones and the large sea scallops, reaching 1½ inches to 2 inches in diameter. In this recipe, I use large sea scallops. Whenever possible, the dry-packed sea scallops are best. The wet scallops are packed in a phosphate solution, and when cooked, extra liquid drains out into the pan. So instead of searing, you will boil your scallops. Although there are the divers scallops which are individually harvested by divers—very expensive but ecological better . Here in the US, the meat we call “scallop” is firm and white. It is what you get when you buy scallops in the grocery store. Another part of the scallop is called the “coral,” soft and brightly colored and available outside the US when you buy the scallop in the shell. It’s delicious, as I’ve had it a few times. The most famous dish with scallops is the acclaimed Coquilles St. Jaques.
I am leaving for Germany in a few days. I am still not sure if I will be able to go, so wish me the best. The rules are changing constantly. I am so excited to travel again. It’s been a long time since I saw my German family and ate some good German food. I get to hold a new baby in my arms . That alone is worth the journey
My scallop dish comes from a recipe I found in a magazine years ago. Unfortunately, I can’t give credit to whoever developed this dish because I can’t find any information on the internet. Thank you to the chef who came up with this delicious recipe. The combination of the different ingredients is perfect. The leeks and peas complement the delicate flavor of the scallops, while the mini-potato galettes act as a foil to the tender scallops. The bacon adds some crunch and wakes up the palettes. Altogether, this exquisite meal is light and delicate. A special meal for a special person in your life.
Make sure you buy the best scallops available. I usually buy mine frozen at Whole Foods when they are on sale. Defrost the scallops in the fridge and don’t thaw them at room temperature or in the microwave. The scallops will be ruined if you don’t dry them completely before searing them or if you overcook them. You will end up with a rubbery mess. What a shame! I made the recipe several times during our lockdown for just my husband and myself. We enjoyed every bite with a nice glass of wine. I like to serve three to four large scallops per person. This is a light elegant main course that tastes great with a green salad with a citrus dressing.
The Recipe For Scallops on Potato GALETTES with leeks and peas
This recipe serves four people. A mandolin will cut the potato in very thin slices.
1 ½ cups 7oz. 200g frozen peas thawed
½-1 cup vegetable broth (the amount depends on the desired consistency of your puree)
Salt and pepper to taste
Scallops and Leeks
6 bacon slices of hickory smoked bacon
3 TBS butter, divided
4 leeks (about 4 cups)
16 large sea scallops
1 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper
5 TBS olive oil or more
2 8-ounce potatoes
This dish needs to be timed correctly. The leeks and pea purée can be made ahead of time but the scallops and potato galettes need to be done as close to dinner as possible. Warm the serving plates in the oven, and when it is time to serve, plate the food. Put the leeks on the bottom of the dish, add one or two potato galettes, and top with four scallops. Add the juices from the frying pan over the scallops. Pour the pea purée around the food and sprinkle the whole thing with bacon. It makes a stunning presentation.
Purée the defrosted peas (10 ounces) with ½ to 1 cup of broth until smooth. Adjust the pea purée to your taste. I like mine smooth and a little runny. I used my Vita Mix to get a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper. This can be made one day ahead, but cover and refrigerate it. Reheat it and before serving, and thin it with broth if the purée is too thick.
Scallops and Leeks
Heat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the food warm.
Cut the bacon into ½-inch slices and sauté in a heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and keep warm in the oven.
Use only the white part of the leeks. I freeze the green part to use in making broth. If the leek is large, quarter the white part lengthwise and then slice it into small slices. Wash them in a bowl of water and drain. You want about 4 cups of leeks.
Melt 2 TBS of butter in a large frying pan, add the leeks and sauté until they they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add ½ cup of water, cover, and simmer until the leeks are very tender but not brown. Cook until the liquid has evaporated, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Put the leeks in an oven-proof dish and keep them warm in the oven.
Dry the scallops on paper towels until there is no moisture left. You might have to repeat this. Put the dry scallops on paper towels and season them on all sides with salt and freshly ground pepper. Melt remaining 1 TBS of butter with the oil in a large large frying pan over high heat until hot. Add scallops one at a time and leave them alone for about 2 minutes. This is how they get a nice sear. Turn them over for a minute or so and remove them to a plate. You want the scallops just opaque in the center. Deglaze the frying pan with a little bit of white wine that your husband has opened and served you in a glass. Pour the juices that have accumulated on the plate with the scallops into the frying pan with the sauce. I cook the scallops last, when I am finished with my potato galettes.
I use the same frying pan for the bacon, leeks and scallops. I wipe the pan clean in between with paper towels. For the potato galettes, I use my cast iron frying pan. Peel the potatoes and slice them into 1/16-inch-thick rounds. I used my mandoline for this. The potatoes will discolor quickly, so I prepare them as soon as they are peeled. Heat a little bit of oil in the frying pan and carefully arrange potato slices in a round circle in skillet, overlapping slightly and forming a 3 ½-4 inch circle. I made three galettes at a time. Cook until each galette is golden brown on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Turn the galettes over with a wide spatula (rearrange if they fall apart) and cook until potatoes are tender. Keep the galettes warm in the oven. They are best eaten right away. If you keep them warm for a long time, they will become soft and soggy.
recipe author unknown
Here are some ideas for deserts to go with this special meal. Click on the photo for the link.
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.