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This is a true secret ingredient recipe: using something right out of the pantry and altering it to an important but unidentifiable state. The coffee in this recipe (instant espresso, in this case) provides sharp bitterness, contrasted by a luxurious creaminess in the sauce, and a caramel sweetness in the seared scallops. It’s the perfect easy recipe that lends a wow factor to any dinner party.
And, in case you were wondering, it will still work as a pick-me-up. I’ve never felt so awake! So, it adds not only flavor, but also energy, to dinner.
Note: When making a beurre blanc, it is good practice to cut the butter into cubes, then place them in a bowl, and refrigerate until you are ready for it. The colder the butter, the better the sauce.
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- 5 stems of parsley (stems only), coarsely chopped
- 4 black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso dissolved in 1/4 cup recently boiled water
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, plus 1 tablespoon
- 12 to 16 large sea scallops
When making a beurre blanc, it is good practice to cut the butter into cubes, then place them in a bowl, and refrigerate until you are ready for it. The colder the butter, the better the sauce.
In a small saucepot, put the shallot, parsley stems, peppercorns, cider vinegar, and espresso powder dissolved in hot water. Bring to simmer on medium heat, and keep on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until liquid is mostly evaporated, and pot is nearly dry (about 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid left).
Once the base of the beurre blanc is reduced, whisk in the heavy cream. It will bubble. Begin adding the stick of cubed butter, about 3 small cubes at a time, still over medium heat. Add more butter only once the butter just added has melted into sauce. Once all butter is incorporated, take pot off heat, and whisk in pinch of fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar. Strain into a bowl, and set aside.
Working quickly, melt remaining tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until butter foams at edge of pan. Pat scallops dry on paper towel, and season lightly with fine sea salt. Sear scallops 3 minutes on first side, until golden brown. Turn and sear 2 minutes on reverse side.
Plate the dish with a puddle of beurre blanc in the center, and scallops nestled on top. Serve immediately.
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