This recipe was shared by my friend Tatiana, who now lives in Greece. She swore it was a Greek recipe, but I didn’t believe her for one second. It seems profoundly French to me in every respect — from vast quantity of onions used, to butter, to cream, to cooking in wine method, to extracting maximum flavor out of minimal number of ingredients. And of course, like with everything French, the devil is in the details.
Here is the scoop — cook gently, and err on the shorter and smaller side. Use less wine, cook shorter times if it appears that scallops are getting too done. Times and quantities vary, based on scallop size, freshness and texture. Trust your eyes, nose, and fingers, and you’ll be delighted.
Here are the What and How, for this batch
Scallops & Leeks
- 1 to 1-1/2 lbs of large fresh scallops, rinsed
- 2-3 large leeks, trimmed to light green portion of the leaves
- 4 tbsp butter, divided
- 1/2 to 1 cup white wine
- 1 to 1-1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
First things first: cut leeks in half lengthwise, and using a sharp knife, slice them into linguini-like strips (or thinner, if you are up for it)
Prepare two skillets. Divide butter in half and melt in both skillets over medium.
Place scallops in one skillet, sprinkle fresh pepper on them and saute on both sides until butter is absorbed.
Put leek “linguini” into the other skillet, reduce heat to low, and saute for about 15 minutes or so, until leeks are wilted and resemble cooked pasta in texture and look. Be careful not to brown the leeks.
When scallops drink up all the butter, add wine, 1/2 cup at first, increase heat to medium high and cook until wine is almost absorbed, and scallops are done. If scallops are done sooner than the wine is gone, this is ok. Better remove them from heat sooner than too late.
When scallops are done, transfer them into the skillet with leeks, add cream and salt to taste. Heat through and cook for a few minutes to thicken the cream.
Serve hot: over your favorite side dish, or just atop of a scallop shell, place leeks first to form a “nest”, and mount scallops on top. Pour some creamy sauce on top if desired, and garnish with basil.