2.04.2017

'Twas the Night Before Christmas...

I know it's February but this was the dinner I made on Christmas Eve in Paris. And it is good enough to share with you anytime - in fact, it would make a great dinner for Valentine’s Day.

When we were in Paris gathering groceries at the Marché Beauvau, I came across a wonderful seafood vendor - La Marée Beauvau.

They had the most beautiful St. Jacques (scallops) I had seen; they were in their shells with their coral. That is definitely something you don't often see in my part of the United States.

Just the day before, our friend Marie-Lise told us that we should take advantage of the season when the St. Jacques are at their peak. Twist my arm!

She suggested making them with leeks, a favorite preparation of hers. We picked up ten beautiful scallops, 3 leeks, crème fraîche, a couple handfuls of mâche, and headed back to the Marais.

I wanted to make them a little special for Christmas by adding some special flavor to the leeks. I looked around the apartment...

We had a few clementines set aside for Christmas breakfast, and our landlady had a little curry powder. A little of this, a little of that.

The flavors came together beautifully, the zest of the clementines playing nicely with the curry powder. We thought it was fantastic.

You know what it was like? It was like being in Paris and having an amazing meal. It was just like that.

The wine - a 2015 Côtes de Provence white I had purchased a few days before - paired beautifully with scallops and leeks. You can read more about the pairing on the Provence WineZine.

Happy Valentine's Day! It is a day for all the people you love, and who love you back!

~ David

Seared St. Jacques with Creamy Curried Leeks

3 leeks, cleaned, halved lengthwise, and sliced
5 tablespoons butter, divided
finely grated zest of 2 clementines
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup crème fraîche
10 sea scallops, patted dry
salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, blanch the sliced leeks in salted boiling water for 1 minute; drain well.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the same saucepan over medium heat and add the leeks. Cook the leeks in the butter for 15-20 minutes, until they are very soft and beginning to break down. Add the clementine zest and curry powder, and cook a couple minutes longer to meld the flavors. Blend in the crème fraîche and remove from the heat. Set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the remaining butter over medium-high heat. Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. When the butter is hot, add the scallops and sear - about two minutes each side.

While the scallops are cooking, reheat the creamy leeks. Divide the leeks between two dinner plates, top with the scallops, and serve with a lightly dressed green salad.

Serves 2.




33 comments:

  1. You possibly would have gone weak in the knees if you were with me when I spotted two guys shucking fresh scallops yesterday, in Paracas, Peru. They were making ceviche to order. Delicious, but served like you have here would suit me just fine.

    I'm always quietly horrified when scallops are sold without the roe. It's criminal!

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    1. I know I would have gone weak in the knees, John - I certainly did in Paris!

      If that horrifies you, John, you might spend a lot of time suspended in that state here - so hard ot find scallops with their roe...

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  2. Blue avez préparé un repas idéal pour tous les jours fériés.GREG

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    1. Premièrement, Greg, je ne savais pas que ti parles français! Merci pour tes amables paroles. Oh, les secrets que nous avons! Et, bien sûr, je reconnais l'autocorrection de "vous" à "blue!"

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  3. Wow, another beautiful dish, David. Such a pity my Peter dislikes leeks.

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    1. Oj, Liz - how sad that Peter doesn't like leeks. Perhaps you could cream some potatoes with clementine zest and curry for him?

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  4. This looks and sounds amazing, most beautiful. I have never seen scallops still in their shell - gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks, Cathleen! I know - scallops in their shells is a bit foreign to most of us..

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  5. Another divine looking dish! That top leek photo looks so lovely. Scallops are one of my favourites. Yum.

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    1. I love scallops, to, Ngeun - and thank you for your kind comment. It was sometimes hard to shoot good photos in the winter in a tiny apartment in Paris - so I am glad the leek photo made you smile.

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  6. Beautiful photos that pull the reader right in. I imagine we all wan a seat at that perfectly adorned table. The scallops look delicious! There's often a good fish monger at the Tuesday market in Cucuron, I plan to look for oysters, in the shell with their roe! (Keep your fingers crossed.... many people are on vacation!)

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    1. I have never even imagined oysters with their roe! How intriguing!!

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  7. P.S. I forgot to mention that the wine looks like an exquisite match. I am going to try very hard to go to the estate! I love that story of the pairing (in the current issue of Provence WineZine)!

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    1. I hope you get to meet them and tell them of our posts!

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  8. Love this recipe and the story. Have a nice Valentine day David! Ciao, Anna

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  9. What a beautiful meal. I'd eat this for any occasion! I have never seen scallops in the shell--what a lovely trip! (And I am still pinning things to my Christmas board...)

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    1. I save Christmas ideas all year long, Inger - why not? I think we are going to have this again, soon!

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  10. Hi David, I actually squealed when I first saw this on IG, what a lovely dinner, love, love scallops and these looked perfectly prepared.

    Scallops in a shell is not something I have seen before, (only in a movie). Sounds like you guys had a magical trip. Lovely pics!!

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    1. Cheri - your comment made my day! I don't know if anyone has ever squealed when they saw my food before... :)

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  11. What a beautiful presentation, David! It is absolutely a perfect dish for Valentine's Day! Of course, I think being in Paris to eat this would be even better, but we can't all be in Paris at the same time, can we? I have some scallops in the freezer, but they just won't be the same as the ones you picked up!

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    1. Now that I am back from "Valhalla," I will be eating pre-frozen scallops, too, Christina. Still, there is enough flavor here that I think you will still love it! Our visit to Paris made us realize just how much we LOVE that city. Can't wait to go back.

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  12. What a wonderful meal, lovely ingredients and it sounds so delicious.

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    1. Thanks, Caroline - it is amazing what you can do with wonderful, fresh ingredients.

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  13. Wouldn't it be nice to have the availability of fresh scallops in their shells here at home. Lucky you to get to enjoy your delicious meal…and in Paris nonetheless. :D

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    1. That would be so nice, Karen - but luckily we still get some good day boat scallops from time to time. And, as someone once said, no matter what you eat, it always tastes better in Paris!

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  14. David, this is an example of how your cooking reminds me of my mother's -- the subtlety and finesse, letting the wonderfully fresh main ingredient shine.

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    1. Jean, that is the sweetest comment I could have received! You made my day!

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  15. Wow, scallops in their shells are a thing of beauty! I've only seen them sold in bulk at the seafood counter in our supermarket lol. I love leeks, but I've never eaten them on their own like this, David. I must try it! Looks like one amazing meal!!

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    1. Marcelle - I have come to appreciate leeks as a vegetable over the years - they are so full of flavor, yet sweet and mild. You should try them! Thanks for your sweet comments!

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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