The holidays in France are more than just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they are an extended period of time when we love to receive friends and family for some special time of sharing, and eating and drinking well.
It is rarely about quantity in the plate, but rather quality. We eat to season, and savour every morsel.
Today, for the last in my holiday entertaining series I’d like to tell you about Coquilles st Jacques or scallops – a very firm favourite of mine. I love the way they can adapt to a first course or a main course, how well they fit to pasta, to risotto, or just on their own. Here is one of my very favourite recipes, I hope you enjoy.
8 fresh scallops, shells too if possible
1 shallot, minced
½ cup white wine
4 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon chopped thyme
Salt and pepper
½ of shallot
Clean the scallops. Remove the extra bit of muscle –all you have to do is rip it off. If your scallops feel gritty, run them under cold water and pat them dry before cooking. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a frying pan over medium-high and add a pat of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil
to coat the bottom.
Once the pan is hot, add the scallops. They should sizzle! Fry on one side for around 2 minutes, then flip and continue cooking for about 2 more minutes. Poke it with your finger (cautiously). It should almost be firm.
Remove cooked scallops from pan and lower to medium heat. Add another pat of butter to the pan and melt it. Add the shallots and cook for thirty seconds. Pour in the white wine and add the thyme. Reduce until thickened, about halfway.
Add a tablespoon of butter and whisk until incorporated. Reduce very slightly and remove from heat.
Taste and season accordingly. Add scallops back to pan and heat on low just until warm. These are especially beautiful served in their shells with some arugula or roquette and fresh herbs!
with thanks to Alex Roberts for creating this recipe and shooting the wonderful pictures