By popular demand, I bring you the recipe for the amazing scallops that we enjoyed last Wednesday, as the third course of our seven-course, seven-and-a-half-hour Christmas Day lunch (“A Christmas feast in France,” posted December 27).
Made by our friend Mark, it’s a delicious dish, and looks like this:
And now for the recipe, for four people, starting with the sauces:
The light apple sauce. Using a half litre or so of apple juice, reduce the juice in a pan by about half, until it thickens and gets a bit syrupy. Add a squirt of lemon and a dash of Calvados if you wish.
The apple purée. Peel, core and roughly chop a sharp green cooking apple (like a Granny Smith). Now steam it, or microwave it, until soft. Purée to create a nice, smooth apple sauce.
The spinach bed. Chop some lardons (or streaky bacon if you’re not in France) into smaller chunks, and sauté the pieces in a pan until they brown. Now throw in a handful of baby leaf spinach per serving, and let the spinach wilt. When it’s cooked, press out the moisture if the spinach is a bit wet.
Prepare the black pudding. Mark advises that a good black pudding works best for this recipe, while French boudin noir gets too mushy. If you can get black pudding, just remove the casing, cut into thin rounds (perhaps a centimetre thick), and sear quickly in a fry pan. If you don’t like black pudding, you can omit it, or (my idea) use small pieces of seared foie gras.
Cook the scallops. Use the best fresh scallops you can find, and plan on three per person. Trim the scallops, and then season them. Sear over high heat for a scant minute or minute and a half per side, and then finish with a blob of butter and a squirt of lemon juice.
Assemble. To put the dish together, arrange a strip of spinach down the centre of each plate. Top with the rounds of black pudding (three per serving), and place a seared scallop on each round. On one side of the spinach, lay down a strip of the apple purée that you’ve made. And finally, over the whole dish, drizzle some of the lighter apple sauce that you made by reducing apple juice.
The dish, one more time. Today, Mark revealed (while seated near the special test kitchens of Radio Free Daglan, drinking Champagne and explaining his recipe) that his apple sauce had been a bit runnier than he had planned; he had made it earlier in the day, and reheated it. So, maybe you should try creating the dish in one fell swoop. In any case, it should look pretty much like this:
And there you have it. Maybe for tomorrow night’s New Year’s Eve dinner? Just a thought.