It's that wonderful time of the year...the day most parents count down to (like a kid counts down to Christmas) - THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. Although Mr.S.'s kidlets are great, by the end of summer both our nerves are pretty frayed. This year the kidlets will be attending different schools so they each had a different start date. Kidlet #1's first day of high school was last Monday and Kidlet #2 starts back up this Tuesday at his elementary school. The consensus after the first week from Kidlet #1 was that high school was "pretty cool," especially since he's already made new friends and due to a scheduling glitch he ended up with TWO lunch periods on the first day.
Anyhow, Mr.S. and I thought we'd celebrate this "holiday" by cooking up a tasty treat for ourselves. A celebration of surviving a summer of teen and preteen hormones, sibling rivalry and incessant "I'm bored's" and "He's looking at me's". I picked up some fresh, plump (or as I like to call them- fat ass) scallops at my favorite seafood store, Sunh Fish, along with some morels at the Co-op. I figured these ingredients paired with a simple beurre blanc (a velvety white butter sauce) would make a mind-blowing meal. And guess what? I was right! [I also made a side of sautéed balsamic carrots and beets greens so that we got our veggies in. ☺] The recipe didn't take too long to make, especially since I did my Back-to-School happy dance while whistling to The Final Countdown as I prepared the meal.
By the way, just a heads up-- beurre blanc is not for the faint of heart, it involves a INSANE amount of butter. Don't say I didn't warn you....
Pan-Seared Scallops and Morels in Beurre Blanc
1 dozen fresh, large scallops (season on both sides with salt and pepper)
6 morels, cleaned of all grit and sliced in half length-wise
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoon finely minced shallots
Kosher salt and ground white pepper, to taste
2 sticks cold, unsalted butter (cut into tablespoon-size pieces)
1 tablespoon of clarified butter
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4-5 finger limes (optional)
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the wine, champagne vinegar and shallots to a boil.
2. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to a thick sauce-like consistency.
3. Reduce heat to low and add in the cream. Stir.
4. Add 1 tablespoon of COLD butter at a time. Whisk each piece in thoroughly, making sure it incorporates into the sauce. Keep whisking constantly throughout the whole butter adding process. The sauce should be rich and creamy looking when you're done.
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. On a large plate, arrange your tomato halves.
7. In a large cast-iron pan, heat up the clarified butter and vegetable oil over high heat. (You want it smokin' hot.)
8. Place the scallops in the pan. Don't crowd them. Then don't touch them for about 2 minutes. Let them cook undisturbed, you want to get that nice golden-brown crust. At two minutes, flip them over and cook them for another minute or two depending on the thickness of the scallops. (Be sure that you don't overcook them, overcooked scallops taste rubbery and gross.)
9. Remove scallops from heat and place on plate.
10. In the same pan, you just removed the scallops, give your morels a quick sauté. Add another pat of butter if you wish.
11. Place the sautéed morels on the plate. Scoop the beurre blanc over the scallops, morels and tomatoes. Garnish the scallops with finger lime caviar if you wish. Enjoy!
* Note: Beurre blanc does not keep well, so you want to make it right before you use it.