What’s more romantic than calling 10+ restaurants (all fully booked, of course…What? You thought you could still get reservations 3 weeks before Valentine’s Day?), finally settling on a reservation where you will end up spending too much money on a preset menu you get no say in, all while sitting in a room with 42 other people (many of whom look like they’ve been married a very long time and you swear they haven’t said one word to each other all night) and if you’re lucky maybe even sitting in one of those awkward two-top tables so close to another couple you almost accidentally grab their drink instead of yours?
A lot, actually.
So this year, we decided to forgo going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. We figure we can create a much more romantic setting at home for much less money. And we can even eat what we want.
I had decided on a simple seared scallop for the appetizer. And when you’re doing simple, you gotta do it right. This meant going all the way to Whole Foods, which we usually don’t do – one because it’s a little farther away, and two because I end up spending about double what I do at Publix. On half the amount of food.
The quality of scallops you use is important. You’re looking for fresh, deliciously plump scallops. Seared to perfection and swimming in a classically rich butter sauce…what’s better than that?
We chose to enjoy this dish as an appetizer – but you could easily increase your scallops, add some pasta, and make an entree out of it. The sauce is also incredibly versatile; it’s wonderful over all types of seafood, and you can also try adding an herb such as tarragon or dill in at the end if you want to spice it up.
Perfectly Seared Scallops with Beurre Blanc
Adapted from Gourmet on Epicurious.com
3/4 to 1 pound large sea scallops
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, divided
2 finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar (you can also use lemon juice here)
Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sear scallops, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a platter.
What’s so great about this is you’re using the same pan for the sauce. To make the beurre blanc: add shallot, wine, and vinegar to skillet and boil, scraping up brown bits, until reduced to roughly 2 tablespoons. Add juices from platter and if necessary boil until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Reduce heat to low and add 2 tablespoons butter, stirring until almost melted, then add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and swirl until incorporated and sauce has a creamy consistency.
Now pour this deliciousness over the scallops. Serve with fresh, crusty bread and enjoy.