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