There is a reason that the world considers France the birthplace of fine cuisine and many chefs spend years there honing their craft, learning from the finest French chefs. That point was driven home again this week with the passing of Chef Joël Robuchon, following right behind the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and food critic Jonathan Gold, which have rocked the food industry. We are all searching for comfort to ease the pain and shock.
One thing that always brings a smile to our faces are our favorite French foods and today’s Scallops in Garlic Shallot Butter Sauce is just what we needed to lighten our hearts!
It is hard to imagine that we’ve been back from France for eight months – in some ways it seems like a lifetime ago and other days it seems like just yesterday. Half the time I expect to step out our door and be on the street in Montmartre, heading to the individual shops to buy our foods for dinner or getting a meal at the little café where we were considered locals.
The combination of butter with shallots and garlic is a classic in many countries, especially France. But when you add scallops with their natural mild sweetness, magic happens!
This dish is commonly served as an appetizer, but The Artist and I love it so much that I’ve turned it into a main course, especially perfect for special occasions. Because the sauce is so rich you only need a few scallops to completely satisfy, helping keep the cost down. The scallops and sauce are so rich that it is worth the splurge once in a while.
You can use scallops in any recipe that calls for shrimp or clams. For this recipe I chose to top them with gluten-free breadcrumbs mixed with Parmesan and parsley for an exquisite crunchy texture that complemented their seductive tenderness.
While this is a seemingly complex and complicated recipe, if you take it one step at a time, it is very doable.
With each bite of the scallops in garlic shallot butter sauce, we were reminded of the wonderful meals we enjoyed at our local French bistro and the many remarkable dining adventures around Paris, Dijon, and Chinon.
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Always read through the recipe at least once before starting to cook, setting out all the ingredients you will need and prepping anything that needs chopping, etc. This will save you time and ensure you have everything you need before you get started!
When you are shopping for scallops, look for them to have a pinkish hue. If they are pure white, they’ve been bleached and won’t taste as good.
Use a gluten-free flour blend or single GF flour to dust the scallops before sauteing, and gluten-free breadcrumbs for the final step. Fresh breadcrumbs are super easy to make, just remove the crusts and pulse a couple of times in a food processor or mince with a chef’s knife. No toasting required!
- 1 cup sifted gluten-free flour blend, all-purpose flour, or rice flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a touch of paprika
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup finely minced shallots
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 3/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
- 1 small bay leaf
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp minced parsley
- 2 tbsp heavy cream or crème fraîche
- Freshly squeezed juice from about 1/2 lemon
- 1-1/2 lb sea or bay scallops, well rinsed and patted dry
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp minced parsley
- 6 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs (use gluten-free bread if needed)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- Fresh lemon wedges, for garnish
- Set up your Kitchen: Butter 6 scallop shells or ovenproof baking dishes such as au gratins or ramekins with about 1/3 cup capacity, and set on a baking sheet.* Set out a 1-quart saucepan and a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Place seasoned flour in a shallow dish and place it next to the stove. Set a clean plate next to the dish.
- Start the Sauce: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the onions slowly for about 5 minutes, or until tender and translucent but not browned. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the shallots and garlic, and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Prep the Scallops: Dry the scallops with paper towels. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper, dredge in the seasoned flour, and shake off excess flour. Set onto a plate.
- Melt the butter with the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter/oil is very hot, use tongs to add the scallops to the pan, making sure that there is room between them so the butter can cook the sides. Sauté quickly for 2 minutes per side to brown them lightly. Pull smaller ones out a little ahead of the bigger ones.
- Finish the Sauce: Pour the wine into the skillet with the scallops. Add the herbs, cream, lemon juice, and the cooked onion mixture, stirring to blend into the sauce. Cook for 3 minutes, or until scallops are barely cooked through - the carryover heat & broiling will finish them.
- Use the tongs to transfer the scallops to the prepared baking dishes. Discard the bay leaf. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings if needed. If not thickened, boil for about 1 minute then turn off the heat. Spoon the sauce over the scallops. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate. If serving right away, set aside.
- To Serve: When you are ready to serve, set a rack about 8-inches below the top and preheat the broiler on High.
- In a small bowl, combine the parsley, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan, stirring to blend. Stir in the melted butter and sprinkle mixture over the tops of the scallops. Slip the scallops (on the baking sheet) under the broiler and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the scallops are heated through and the top is golden brown.
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- * If using scallop shells, line the baking sheet with a Silpat, a layer of crumpled aluminum foil or a thick layer of raw rice. Any of these will help keep the shells from bobbling or sliding around.
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