Sunday, December 12, 2010

Caramelized Sea Scallops - Thomas Keller

***If you haven't heard about a wonderful chef named, Thomas Keller, then you are missing out.  He is quite the chef and is classically trained in French cuisine.  Chef Keller has several famous and very successful restaurants, three of which include The French Laundry, Bouchon and Ad Hoc.

Now, if I am ever out in Yountville, CA, I definitely want to visit Ad Hoc.  It has such a unique concept, that I think is awesome.  The concept is best described on the official website:
"The idea for Ad Hoc was simple - 5 days a week we'd offer a 4 course family style menu that changed each day, accompanied by a small, accessible wine list in a casual setting reminiscent of home."

Sounds neat, doesn't it?  Last Christmas, Brad gave me a copy of Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook.  This book quickly became one of my favorites....a staple in my kitchen!  You can see my collection of other recipes from the Ad Hoc cookbook right HERE on my blog.

A friend of ours that is currently in culinary school gave us some fresh sea scallops.  They were large and beautiful...and I had just the recipe!  I've had my eye on Chef Keller's recipe for Caramelized Sea Scallops since I got the cookbook.  It's a simple recipe, with an outstanding result.  These scallops came out beautifully...Perfectly cooked, moist, and very flavorful!

His suggestion of using a stainless steel pan instead of a non-stick pan is essential!!  You'll get a much pretty caramelization that way.

Bon Appetit!!***

Caramelized Sea Scallops
Source:  Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home Cookbook
2 cups kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 cups hot water
8 cups cold water
12 large sea scallops (about 1 3/4 pounds), preferably dry-packed, tough side muscle removed from each one
About 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Clarified Butter
1/2 lemon (optional)

Line a small baking sheet with paper towels. Combine the 2 cups salt with the hot water in a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add the cold water.

Add the scallops to the brine and let stand for 10 minutes (no longer, or the scallops may become too salty). Drain the scallops, rinse under cold water, and arrange in a single layer on the paper towels.

Heat the clarified butter in a large stainless steel frying pan over medium-high heat until it ripples and begins to smoke. (Although you may be tempted to use a nonstick pan, a stainless steel pan will produce a more beautiful caramelized exterior.) Sprinkle the scallops lightly with salt and add them to the pan, without crowding. (If necessary, cook the scallops in two pans or in 2 batches; if they touch, they will steam rather than caramelize.) Cook, without moving the scallops, until the bottoms are a rich golden brown, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Turn the scallops and caramelize the second side.

Transfer the scallops to a serving platter and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice on top, if desired.


Kitty said...

That's my favourite way to prepare scallops; fast, easy and perfect. They just melt in your mouth. Try making a leek purée to go with this: sweat leeks slowly in butter until very soft but not browned, season lightly and blitz with a stick blender or food processor.

Bon appétit, indeed! :D

Celeste said...

Kitty - That sounds delish! Thanks so much for the tip...and thanks for stopping by my blog! :-)

Anonymous said...

What a delicious way to make scallops! We're always looking for new ideas to make sea food. I'll definitely have to give this a try.

Sandie said...

Hi, Celeste!
I came across your blog late last night while looking for the Chicken with Mushroom, Port, and Cream for the movie Julie & Julia. I'm not sure that I've found that actual recipe, but I have a good idea in my head of what I want to do... I had seen your post for her Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce recipe, and it looks divine!
But, I have to say, these scallops have me drooling!! Who needs pasta or sauces or anything else when you have scallops like these?! I say we just eat them as a snack, like popcorn! ;-)