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swirl and savor

Seared Scallops in Pernod Cream Sauce

Beth Ribblett

Our DC10 challenge this week had a "white on white" theme where each couple had to prepare a dish using only white ingredients. Our assignment was the entree and the first thing that came to mind for me was using scallops, something we rarely cook or eat, making it a bit more interesting for us.

Although Pernod is not usually something I cook with, I found a lot of information on line about how well it goes with seafood. So the challenge took us out of our comfort zone in more ways than one, but the dish was a success, receiving high marks from the very finicky group of foodies.

Expensive, of course, Whole Food sells beautiful large sea scallops that were absolutely delicious. And sorry, the picture is not my best, my photographic skills begin to decline after a cocktail and a few glasses of wine...

Serves 8

2 lbs Large Sea Scallops
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs olive oil
1 large shallot chopped small
3/4 C white wine
1/2 lemon, juiced
3/4 C heavy cream
1 Tbs Pernod (or other anise flavoured liqueur)
2 Tbs fresh tarragon, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2lbs pasta (I used homemade ribbons)

The trick with this recipe is to make the sauce ahead, then time the pasta and scallops so they are done at the same time. Depending on the type of pasta you’re using it will take different amounts of time, so I’ll leave it to your discretion as to when to start the pasta.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan. Saute the tarragon with the shallots until they are soft and starting to caramelize. Add the wine and lemon juice and reduce until thick and reduced. Add the cream and Pernod and turn down the heat to keep it warm, but don't let it bubble.

Clean and dry the scallops. Heat pan over high heat until hot. Lightly salt and pepper the scallops. Add the butter to the pan and swirl to melt. When the bubbling subsides add the scallops in a single layer without overcrowding the pan. Sear undisturbed until brown then flip with tongs. Cook until the top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 of the scallop is opaque and the middle 1/3 is still translucent.

Transfer the scallops to a plate then add the cream sauce to the pan that the scallops came out of and deglaze. Put the drained pasta in the sauce and stir to coat.

Plate the pasta then top with the scallops and drizzle any remaining sauce on top.

We paired this with the 2007 Ceretto Blange which worked well but I think my second choice, the Bucci Verdicchio would have provided a little more body and acidity for the creamy sauce.