Last month, I wrote enthusiastically about a dish we prepared of Tasmanian scallops, wrapped in prosciutto and roasted. Think of this as the sea-quel.
Over the last few months we have settled on new arrangements for buying fresh seafood. Previously, we shopped at one of the fishmongers at Prahran Market; sadly, since a change of ownership … Meanwhile, we had already begun to patronise a relatively new fish shop closer to home; Eat Fish, in Ashburton is actually owned by a long-established seafood wholesaler. And, for special occasions, we have returned to Kingfisher at Camberwell Market, which is where we bought the aforementioned scallops.
Anyway, we went to Ashburton last Saturday morning, ostensibly to buy various ingredients from Ashburton Meats, a few items of fruit and vegetable and our preferred toasting bread – Irrewarra Sourdough. We also took a sample of our favourite calamari dish, which we had cooked the night before using calamari tubes from Eat Fish; we often do this for our suppliers – a mixture of reward and feedback. Before I left the shop, I casually enquired about the quality of the fresh (Victorian) scallops; “Best season in 30 years” was the response. Before I left the shop, I bought 300g of the scallops.
The scallops were very plump, dry, clean and fresh on the nose. We decided to prepare them – for a light Sunday lunch and a Monday-lunch-at-work for Maggie – in my version of a meurniere style.
To begin, I tossed the scallops in a plastic bag with some plain flour. I removed the scallops one at a time, shaking them vigorously to leave just the barest coating of the flour. (The flour helps to thicken the sauce, but you don’t want to overdo it.) Next, I melted about 15-20g of butter in a heavy-based 20cm pan until very warm, and cooked the scallops in two batches of seven. As they were so plump, I gave them a total of three (3) minutes cooking time each, before transferring them to a dish to be kept warm in an oven heated to 80C.
To finish the sauce, I reduced the heat and added 1/4 cup of dry white wine – a lovely Clare Valley Riesling, of which we would both drink a glass with our lunch. I let the wine bubble and reduce by about 50%, before adding another small knob of butter, a generous pinch of salt, ditto for black pepper, 40ml of freshly chopped parsley and 40-50ml of cooking cream. (The last ingredient is NOT used in a traditional meuniere sauce but it works in our kitchen.) To add some VERY traditional lemon juice, I squeezed 1/2 a lemon and tossed the warm scallops in the juice before adding it all to the sauce, followed by gentle stirring to coat the scallops well.
The scallops were served on a bed of basmati rice which had been cooked in the saffron-infused liquid leftover from steaming some mussels for our favourite mussel dish a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful, palate-thrilling lunch!