Coquilles St. Jacques with Champagne

Thanks to Anthony Bourdain and the Les Halles Cookbook for this recipe…

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 cup fish stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and freshly ground pepper

16 sea scallops

2 tablespoons clarified butter

1/2 cup champagne

juice of 1/2 a lemon

4 chives, finely chopped

In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the shallot. Cook over medium low heat until soft, but not browned, which should take about 3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cook over medium high heat until reduced by half, then add the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Strain the sauce, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

Pat the scallops dry (if necessary) and season with salt and pepper. Heat the clarified butter over high heat in a saute pan, and once the  butter is hot, add the scallops. Cook on one side for three minutes and then flip them over to cook on the other side for three minutes. There’s supposed to be a golden brown crust on each round surface (you’ll see from our picture that we were somewhat successful in this venture – the pan matters. We cooked these away from our usual pan supply, and we were forced to use non-stick for one batch, which of course, did not properly sear the scallops.) Once this is complete, remove scallops and set aside.

Discard any excess fat in the saute pan. Return the pan to the heat and stir in the champagne, scraping with a wooden spoon to incorporate the fond. Reduce the champagne over medium high heat until it is the thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and then whisk in the reserved cream sauce. Bring to a boil and whisk in the remaining tablespoon of softened butter. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and chives. Arrange the scallops on a serving platter, pour the sauce around, and ENJOY!

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