Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This is an old post... that got lost.  Sorry if it is old news to you.  Something new soon! Right when the sun goes away... 

Coquille St. Jacques with Truffle Beurre Blanc and Sauteed Mushrooms

To celebrate my entrance back into the world of the living, I decided to get back in the kitchen and cook an elaborate dinner (nothing like a good round of food poisoning to get a girl back into the kitchen).  I've been dying to try my hand at something definitively French, so I opted to take a stab the iconic French butter sauce.  And since truffle oil makes everything taste better, I used that as my safety net in case it was a total disaster in terms of consistency.  Coquille St. Jacques is the French word for scallop, which simply means St. James shellfish. 

I must admit, it took me a few loops around the Marche du Passy to find these elusive Coquille St. Jacques.  (Marche du Passy is a big market on the corner of our street full of freshness. Fresh seafood. Fresh meat.  Fresh flowers. Fresh vegetables... etc... It's fab).  At the Whole Foods in DC the scallops were always laid out on ice in ready to cook form.  But that would be WAY too easy for France.  And way to fast.  So when I finally spotted the giant shells labeled "Coquille St. Jacques" it all made sense.  After a little pointing, a little Frenglish and little gesturing, the nice lady at the sales counter proceeded to prepare some scallops for me.

Now that we have that fun little French market story out of the way, it's time to get cooking.  We will start with the easy one.

Sauteed Mushrooms
1/2 pound of button mushrooms, quartered
Olive Oil

Very easy.  Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan. As much as you want really.  I used about 2 tablespoons of butter and enough olive oil to coat the pan.  Add mushrooms and cook over medium heat until they are golden brown.  Stir occasionally to cook evenly.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  2 servings.

Truffle Buerre Blanc
4 T. unsalted butter (cold and quartered)
1/4 C. white wine
1/2 T. shallots, minced
S&P to taste
Truffle oil, a few drops

The toughest part about this sauce is timing and keeping it at the right temperature so that it holds its consistency.  Heat shallots and white wine in a medium saute pan over medium high heat.  Simmer until the wine reduces by about two thirds.  Turn heat down the the lowest setting and whisk in one tablespoon of butter at a time.  Whisk until each tablespoon is emulsified and then add the next.  Add salt and pepper to taste and a couple drops of truffle oil.  Spread a thin layer onto each plate and top with scallops (or anything you want!). This makes 2 to 3 servings.

It was actually much easier than I expected.  However, the consistency started to deteriorate once I started the scallops.  I need to consult Julia Child on solving this one.  (In fact, I am off to the bookstore after this post!)

Seared Coquilles St. Jacques

If that picture grosses you out, I am totally with you.  I had no idea how much work it took to get to the scallop!  If you buy scallops in the US, they typically come ready to cook.  If you buy scallops here, there is twice as much work to do for half the amount of mussel and about twice the price.  But, so is France.  So, once I removed the beard (the orange looking thing) and washed these suckers, they were FINALLY ready to cook. The actual cooking is the easy part.

Season the scallops with a little bit of salt and pepper and some fresh lemon juice.  Heat a pan over medium high heat.  Once hot, but not smoking, add a little oil and butter.  Reduce to medium heat and sear scallops on each side for 1 to 2 minutes depending on the size (ours turned out to be pretty tiny, so I seared them for 1 minute on each side).  Plate them on top of the beurre blanc and spoon up the mushrooms and you are ready to go.

I realize that never have any pictures of the completed product. The reason for that is that I am always to hungry to stop and take a picture and you can forget about the Mr. letting me get a camera near his plate.  It will happen one of these days.

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