So on the drive back home from our holiday sojourn to I-20 land to visit her family, my wife and I were throwing around some low-key New Year's Eve ideas. Of course, what to cook was discussed. Flippantly, my wife threw out the idea of "baby veal with crabmeat raviolis in a beurre blanc sauce," her very favorite dish at her very favorite restaurant, Cypress, on Transcontinental in Metairie.
Given that we were likely going to be on our own, I was willing to try something adventurous in terms of my cooking abilities, and eventually we talked ourselves into it. Somehow, seared scallops came up as well and we subbed that in.
Anyways, long story short, my wife handled making the crabmeat raviolis from scratch, but can't remember the website she got the recipe from. So you're on your own for that. Trust me, there's a ton of recipes out there, pick which one sounds the best for you. One tip that I know from previous experience works -- you can sub in wonton wrappers in place of actually going to the trouble of making the raviolis. As you can see here they didn't exactly come out pretty. Whatever, it was a lot of work on my wife's part.
The sauce and the scallops are where I came in.
8 ounces unsalted butter, chipped
1 /2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp diced shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp sliced green onions
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp chopped parsley
Sauces like this are a little scary because they usually take some attention, and can separate if they're overheated or left out for too long. This one comes from the John Folse Encyclopedia, which is one of our regulars in these parts. This is of course a very light sauce, and works best either with seafood of some sort, or maybe some grilled chicken.
1. In a heavy sauce pan, combine the wine, vinegar, lemon juice, shallots, garlic and green onions over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the liquid reduces to approximately two tablespoons. This takes some care and a good eye-balling to figure out how much it is. When it's cooked down, this is known as a gastrique, and it will really concentrate the flavors of all these ingredients.
2. Reduce your heat to low and begin adding the butter, a few chips at a time until it is all used. Swirl your pan constantly while you add the butter. The recipe recommends that you not using a metal spoon or whisk to stir as this will create hot spots and help the butter separate. From there remove the mixture from heat, season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley. You're going to want to serve this very quickly after making it.
12 Sea Scallops (or as needed)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil (NOT extra virgin)
salt & pepper to taste
Something like this has always intimidated me a little bit, because obviously they're not cheap, and any type of shellfish is very easy to overcook. And overcooked scallops are about as bad as perfectly cooked ones are amazing. But watching this Good Eats video made me feel a little bit better. Alton Brown rules, etc...This is also his recipe, available here.
1. Pat dry the scallops with a paper towel. You really need to get them good and dry, as Brown says in the video. Then coat them with some coarse salt and black pepper, although not too much, as it can burn.
2. Place your butter and oil in a good-sized skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and warm it until most of the bubbles dissipate and it smokes, but only slightly.
3. From there, add the scallops, working in a circle around the edge (clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever works for you). You want to place them down in the skillet and just leave them still. Go around the edge and work your way in, but don't crowd. Nothing wrong with working in batches.
4. You're going to want to give the scallops about 90 seconds on the first side, and don't touch them. Let them develop a sear. After 90 seconds, flip them, moving in the same order you put them in the skillet in. From there give them just over a minute and cut the heat off. They'll keep cooking for a few more seconds (don't go over 90) until you get them on the plate. The goal here is to avoid overcooking of course.
Plating all this stuff in a timely manner was something I'll need to work on in the future. Maybe leaving the sauce on the lowest heat and staying on top of stirring it would have worked, but I was worried it would separate while I was fooling with the scallops. Anyway, put a couple of raviolis on the plate, surround by scallops and cover with a liberal amount of the beurre blanc and enjoy. For the single bros out there, pull this off for a nice at-home date and thank me later.