This is no April Fools!
Here is one of our favorite “company dinners” that a couple years ago we even made for Easter dinner. The prep of the leeks can be done in advance and the rest of it comes together very quickly at serving time. It is totally delicious. Put this plate together with a great bread and everyone’s euphorically happy. Apparently a common dish in France, this specialty is ubiquitous there due to a prevalence of both leeks and scallops, let alone how marvelous they are combined! Give this a try; you’ll be glad you did!
Recipe for Sea Scallops and Leeks
Course sea salt
8 leeks, white portion only, trimmed, rinsed, halved lengthwise and cut into half moon slices
8 large seas scallops (1 1/2 to 2 inches) (or more if you wish)
1/4 cup top quality cream
fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of a classic vinaigrette
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh chives
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh tarragon leaves
Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
Fill a 5-quart pasta pot fitted with a colander with 3 quarts water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add 3 tablespoons course salt and the leeks. Blanch until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Immediately remove the colander from the water, allow the water to drain from the leeks, and plunge the colander with the leeks into the ice water so they cool down as quickly as possible. (The leeks will cool in 1 minute. If you leave them longer, they will become soggy and begin to loose flavor.) Drain the leeks and wrap them in a thick towel to dry. Be sure to squeeze all excess water out of them. All this can be done up to an hour in advance; simply keep the leeks wrapped in the towel at room temperature.
Gently and lightly rinse the scallops and pat completely dry with paper towels. Remove the little muscle on the side of the scallop and discard. Cut each scallop in half horizontally. Set aside.
At serving time, place the blanched leeks in a large lidded skillet and reheat, adding enough creme to evenly coat the leeks. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
In a large nonstick skillet over high heat, sear the scallops and cook until they are just brown around the edges, 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side (1 minute for them to be cooked all the way through). Season each side after it has cooked.
On a warm plate arrange a bed of warm leeks. Top with the seared scallops. Drizzle lightly with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the herbs. Season again with salt and serve immediately!
Makes 4 servings.