I'm not the biggest fan of french food. I know, that's almost a travesty in the food realm. French cheeses, pastries and market fresh foods, oh heck yeah. There's nothing quite like a hot baguette, a chunk of some fantastic french cheese and some freshly made tapenade from a street market vendor. I'm convinced that is a perfectly acceptable meal any and everyday. My experience with french cooking though usually involved some exotic meaty ingredients and I'm far from the adventurous type when it comes to meat.
That being said, I'm not sure what possessed me to pick up Dorie's around my french table cookbook (cookbook #85) aside from the fact that it is Dorie Greenspan, whom I adore. One of the first recipes I flipped to was for a chicken bisteeya, which I also adore. Those two factors overrode my initial hesitancy and this cookbook made its way home with me. It's one of my few cookbooks that elicits a bit of buyers remorse as I see it sitting so forlorn and unused on the shelf. If you are a lover of exotic meaty type dishes that include beef cheeks, duck or meat on the bone, then I'd think this cookbook would be awesome.
The cookbook is beautiful....truly. It's as hefty as Dorie's baking cookbook and full of intros that make you want to hop on a flight to France. The food photography is gorgeous of course, and ultimately that seems to be the seduction that I can't resist. When flip through this cookbook filled with hope and resolve that I will find a recipe to make, I end up closing it without having seen anything that I wanted to eat. That is aside from the bisteeya of course, but I figured since that's really Morroccan, it was a bit of a cop out for me. I really wanted to try something more french in the spirit of the cookbook--and then served my choice with risotto. Go figure.
These sea scallops were sweet and a little tart from the orange juice--the caramel, orange and wine reduction added a fantastic kick of flavor to the scallops. I'd absolutely make this again.
Sea Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce
from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine
1-2 large oranges or enough for generous 1/3 c juice
1 lb sea scallops
1/2-1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and fresh ground white pepper
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into 3 pieces
- Sprinkle the sugar into a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and warm the sugar until it starts to melt and color. As soon as you see it turn brown, begin to gently swirl the pan.
- When the sugar has turned a deep caramel color (about 3 minutes), stand back and add the white wine and orange juice. It may bubble and spatter, so watch out.
- Turn the heat up to high, stir with a wooden spoon, and boil the sauce until it is reduced by half — you should have about 1/3 cup. Pull the pan from the heat and set it aside. (You can make the sauce up to 2 days ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator.)
- Pat the scallops dry between two paper towels. Slice or pull off the little muscle attached to the sides of the scallops.
- Put a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, pour in 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom.
- Add the scallops, season them with salt and pepper, add a little more oil if needed, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the scallops are firm on the outside and just barely opaque in the center — nick one to test. Transfer the scallops to the serving platter.
- Check that the caramel sauce is hot. Pull the pan from the heat and toss in the butter, bit by bit, swirling the pan until the butter is melted and the sauce is glistening. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Drizzle some of the sauce over the scallops and pass the rest at the table.