Monday, May 26, 2008

Coquilles St. Jacques au vin blanc

Summer classes have officially begun for Boston University and while part of me is wondering if I should have taken the summer off to just enjoy life a little, part of me is excited about cooking for homework. It's a new experience and part of what drew me to the gastronomy program at BU. As one of my clients loves to say, ONWARDS!

So after finishing up last semester's food economics and policy class (and the cheese class which started half way through the semester and finished with a paper and final on Monday of this week), I've started my summer class, entitled, "Culture and Cuisine: Regions of France." The class even involves a week long trip at the end of June to visit a region of France and explore the vineyards and markets... I know, woe is me and my life of food and travel.

For the beginning part of this class, we are cooking recipes from the regions we're focusing on for that class/week, and then writing a paper on the dish and our experience cooking it. This week, our Thursday class will be focusing on the Southwest region of France, as well as the Pyrenees and Gascony, both regions feature heavy, fatty, delicious foods (hello foie!) so I was spoiled for choices. Keeping in mind the paper also needed to explain why we believed the dish to be a regional one, I chose to make coquilles St. Jaques au vin blanc (basically, scallops in a white wine sauce) from the Southwest region, which includes the Bordeaux region and emphasizes the great seafood found along the western coastline of France.

The recipe had everything: luscious scallops, salty, smoky bacon, creamy, fatty butter, and the inclusion of the region's famous Bordeaux wine - what could go wrong?


This dish was particularly spectacular (ahem - the fact that I cooked the scallops perfectly helped, AND it was my first experience with them, makes me a superstar if-I-do-say-so-myself). If it wasn't so damned costly (4 scallops = $7), I'd eat this all the time. It'd be my "oh this? I whipped this up in five minutes today" dish for guests, because not only does this delicious dish present well and taste good, it really does take like 15 minutes to pull together. BIG FAN. Big. Huge!

Important: don't skimp on ingredients, there's so few and they need to be up to scratch so your efforts aren't in vain.

Coquilles St. Jacques au vin blanc (scallops in white wine sauce)
Adapted from Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking and Anne Willan's Regional French Cooking

4 large bay scallops, cut in half horizontally
1 oz butter
2 oz bacon, small chop
1 large shallot, finely diced
3 tbsp flour
1 small glass of white Bordeaux wine
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
pepper (salt isn't necessary, bacon will add enough)

Heat butter in saute pan and add bacon and shallots, saute over medium heat until bacon is lightly browned and shallots are yellow and translucent. Lightly season scallops with pepper and dust lightly with flour, patting off any excess before adding to the pan of butter, shallots and bacon.

Turn heat down to medium-low and saute gently for 5-7 minutes, turning the scallops half way through. Once cooked, remove and place on a plate to rest. Raise heat to high and add wine, stirring to remove some of the flavorful build up on the bottom of the pan. Reduce until thick and syrupy. Remove from heat, add parsley and stir.

Plate the scallops and sauce, garnish with more parsley if desired. Serve immediately.

Serves two.

Also, I forgot the parsley and reckon it would have added a nice freshness to the very heavy dish of butter, scallops and bacon, all very rich ingredients.


Andrew said...

oooo, i love a scallop. Haven't had them for ages.

Jason said...

Who ever tries to eat these scallops should really save room in their arteries for extra love.