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A Recipe from Our Cookbook: Nantucket Bay Scallops with Bacon-Watercress Cream Sauce

August 10, 2010

Sweet little scallops and bacon lardons: You really can't go wrong with this combination.

The secret to this dish is the quick searing of the scallops—you just want to give them some color, because the little shellfish are so delicate that they will continue to cook in the warm sauce. In Welcome to Michael’s, Michael rhapsodizes about bacon lardons again and again. Here, they are a perfect complement to the scallops. Just getting you ready for the season, fall is just around the corner!

Nantucket Scallops with Bacon-Watercress Cream Sauce

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bunches watercress, tough stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 40 Nantucket bay scallops, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter (see Note below)
  • Bacon Lardons (recipe follows)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Combine the wine and vinegar with the shallots in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for about 12 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to 1 tablespoon. Whisk in the cream and lower the heat. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Begin whisking in the butter, a cube at a time, adding fresh butter as each addition is incorporated into the sauce. Do not allow the mixture to simmer; if it begins to bubble, lift from the heat for a few seconds. When all the butter has been incorporated, whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the watercress and place over a bowl of hot water to keep warm.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the scallops with clarified butter. Season with salt and pepper and place in the hot pan. Sear on one side for about a minute or until just golden.

Pour the sauce over the scallops, gently spooning the liquid over them to finish the cooking.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer 10 scallops to each of 4 dinner plates. Fold the lardons and half the chives into the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the scallops and sprinkle with the remaining chives. Serve immediately.

Note: Clarified butter is salted butter that has been very slowly melted to separate out the milk solids and water. The clear briht yellow liquid that is left can be used to cook at high temperatures, as it will then have a much higher smoke point than solid butter.

Bacon Lardons

  • Three 1/4-inch-thick slices (about a 1/4 pound) lean, smoked slab bacon

Using a sharp knife, cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Place the bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry, stirring and turning frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the bacon is golden and crisp. Remove from the heat and place on a double layer of paper towels to drain.

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