Wednesday, December 26, 2007
SEARED SCALLOPS WITH SAGE AND PANCETTA
Scallops are definitely my favorite treat from the sea. Not only are they my favorite treat from the sea...but I don't think anything can equal my overall enjoyment of scallops if they are prepared properly. Scallops really don't need much help to take the spotlight at any dinner...but for the adventurous, the flavor combinations are limited only by the imagination, and preparing them can be as complex as the heart desires.
As mentioned, scallops can be prepared simply and still blow your mind with their sweet, tender, satisfying flavor. Really, all they need is to be pan-fried in butter and seasoned with a little salt, pepper and fresh lemon and they're pretty much perfect. The most important rule in cooking scallops - as with most seafood - is not to overcook them. They lose tenderness if cooked past medium. Actually, the term "flash in the pan" is best remembered when cooking scallops; they are best if cooked briefly in a very hot pan or on a very hot grill.
Here, I have seared the scallops in a thin pan at a high heat and finished them quickly in a hot oven. I chose to wrap the scallops in sage and pancetta and serve them with a sundried tomato beurre blanc. The saltiness of the pancetta and the acidic tang of the beurre blanc contrast the sweetness of the scallops and accentuate that characteristic nicely.
Scallops Wrapped in Sage and Pancetta
1. For this recipe, I chose the largest fresh scallops I could get. There should be not fishy smell at all with scallops that are fresh. They should smell sweet and appear snow white and very moist. Use between 4 and 6 scallops per person. Select the freshes sage you can find also. I like to use long leaves for this recipe because it makes wrapping the scallops easier, and usually two good sized leaves will do the trick for each scallop it they are large. One slice of pancetta per scallop is what will be needed to wrap the largest of scallops.
Simply wrap two sage leaves around the edge of each scallop followed by one piece of pancetta. The pancetta will have to be unrolled before being wrapped around the scallops. Once each scallop is wrapped with the sage and pancetta, hold it in place with a toothpick or slide it onto a wooden skewer. I have put 3 scallops on each skewer.
2. Drizzle the wrapped scallops with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with freshly milled pepper. Set aside until ready to grill or pan sear and allow to come to room temperature.
3. To pan sear, heat a medium-sized frying pan on high heat until very hot. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place scallops gently into pan and allow to brown lightly. Flip over and place into hot oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking.
4. Remove scallops from oven and season with fresh lemon juice and salt. Serve immediately.
Sundried Tomato Beurre Blanc
1. Prepare beurre blanc as laid out in my previous beurre blanc recipe, however, for this dish I have added the seeds and inner flesh of tomatoes and some coarsely chopped fresh fennel that was used in my vegetable julienne. The insides of the roma tomatoes is waste as the tomatoes are prepared as in the photo above for julienne. Also, I added finely chopped sundried tomato into the strained reduction. Lastly, don't add the dill as laid out in the recipe link.
Here is the link: http://livingstoncooks.blogspot.com/2007/10/basic-beurre-blanc.html
I have served the scallops with julienne of fennel, zucchini, leek, carrot and tomato.
Posted by Livingston Cooks at 12:47 PM