SEARED SEA SCALLOPS WITH TARRAGON BEURRE BLANC
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped shallots
- 2 tablespoons tarragon-flavored or white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 8 tablespoons or 1 stick cold unsalted butter, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- 1 pound large 16-20 count sea scallops
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
In a small sauce pan, combine the shallots, vinegar, wine and peppercorns. Bring to simmer over medium-low heat and cook until the liquid is reduced to about tablespoon. Remove from heat and stir in whipping cream. Reduce the heat to low and return pan to heat. Add the chopped butter, one piece at a time, allowing each piece of butter to melt before adding the next. Whisk as the butter melts. If the sauce begins to simmer, pull the pan from the heat and add another piece of butter to cool the sauce. The sauce will be the consistency of hollandaise when all the butter is added.
Strain the beurre blanc through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing on the solids with a spatula. Stir in salt and tarragon. Taste and add more salt if needed. Place the bowl with the beurre blanc in a water bath (a pan of hot water) to keep warm while cooking the scallops. The sauce is delicate and will separate if too cold or hot.
Place scallops in a single layer on paper towels, pat dry. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Season the scallops generously wit salt and pepper. Add only enough scallops as the pan will comfortably hold. Work in batches if necessary. Do not crowd the pan of scallops. Sear 2 minutes on one side. Use tongs to gently turn over and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer cooked scallops to a plate and hold in warm oven while finishing all the scallops.
Divide beurre blanc among 4 plates and top each with an even portion of scallops. Serve immediately.