Blanquette of Scallops
Spring for me means discarding dark sauces and turning toward ingredients that are light and green. Here I’m inspired by the French blanquette, a stew, usually veal, in a creamy white sauce. I replaced the veal with plump sea scallops and brightened the whole thing with verdant, seasonal asparagus. Traditionally a blanquette is thickened with egg yolks and has pearl onions and often button mushrooms in the mix. The onion is in my version, but minced. I also omitted the mushrooms and used new potatoes that, unlike the mushrooms, help thicken a sauce made without the egg yolks. The result is a dish that’s fancy enough for guests yet easy enough for a weeknight.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1pound sea scallops, rubbery tendon removed, scallops patted dry
- ⅓cup finely chopped onion
- ½cup dry white wine
- 1cup chicken stock, or more if needed
- 4medium-size new potatoes, about 12 ounces total, peeled and cut in eighths
- Salt and ground white pepper
- 8ounces thin asparagus, ends snapped off, slant-cut in inch-long pieces
- 3tablespoons crème fraîche
- 1teaspoon lemon juice
- 1tablespoon minced fresh dill
Step 1Melt butter over medium heat in a 12-inch sauté pan or skillet that has a cover. Increase heat to medium-high, add scallops and sauté no more than a minute until very lightly browned, then turn them once with tongs to color the other side. They will be undercooked. Remove to a bowl and cover loosely with foil.
Step 2Reduce heat to low, add onions and sauté a couple of minutes, until soft but not brown. Stir in wine, scraping bottom of pan, and add 3/4 cup of the stock. Add potatoes, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook on medium-low 10 to 12 minutes, until just tender when pierced with a paring knife.
Step 3Stir ingredients in the pan. Add asparagus and remaining stock. Cook uncovered about 3 minutes, until asparagus are just tender. If liquid in the pan is reducing too much — there should be a saucelike amount — add a little more stock. Stir in crème fraîche, cook briefly until sauce thickens to a creamy consistency.
Step 4Return scallops and any juices they release to the pan, cook another 2 minutes, basting scallops and potatoes with sauce. Add lemon juice. Taste sauce for seasoning. Transfer blanquette to a serving dish, shower with dill and serve.