I'm living an exciting life in Paris...
Living vicariously, that is, through Dorie Greenspan's little snippets introducing each recipe in Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. But Dorie's not a name-dropper. The chefs she mentions are probably some of her closest friends. If I close my eyes, I can see her in the kitchens of L'Arpège and Market, chatting it up with chefs Alain Passard and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, as she sips Krug Champagne and indulges in an innovative hot-cold egg, (a surprising mixture of egg, cream, sherry vinegar, and maple syrup, all served in the shell), or foie gras crème brûlée.
These are the two chefs, and their sweet-savory creations, that inspired Dorie to create Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce, this week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe.
Alain Passard is the French chef and owner of L'Arpège in Paris, a three Michelin star restaurant. He plays the saxophone, released a recipe book written especially for children, partners in a company that produces mustard using a 16th century recipe, and collaborated with silversmiths Christofle on the design of a flatware collection specially designed for eating vegetables, modeled after pitchforks and scythes. Vegetables are an important part of L’Arpège and all their vegetables are grown on their two hectare all organic farm in the French countryside. I'd love to have a few pieces of this flatware to add to my prop collection...
|Christofle Arpège flatware|
Jean-Georges Vongerichten was born in France, but now resides in the United States, where he reins over his vast empire of restaurants in Las Vegas, London, Paris and Shanghai, as well as New York's Jean Georges restaurant. He is the author of four cookbooks, including James Beard-awarding winning Jean-Georges: Cooking At Home with a Four-Star Chef, co-authored with Mark Bittman.
Although I was tempted to wow you, and myself, with the hot-cold egg and foie gras crème brûlée this week, I took it easy and was happy to prepare scallops for two. They're lightly seasoned with salt and white pepper, seared in olive oil, and drizzled with a spoonful of caramel orange sauce over the top. Before searing the scallops, which only takes minutes, you prepare the caramel orange sauce, also within minutes. It is similar to gastrique, essentially a sweet-sour sauce made from caramelized sugar and vinegar. Here, the caramel orange sauce is made by caramelizing some sugar in a small saucepan, and then adding white wine in place of the vinegar used in a gastrique. Freshly squeezed orange juice is also added, and the sauce is reduced to a syrupy consistency. That's it. Perfectly seared scallops, drizzled with a sweet, citrusy orange sauce. I added an additional step of a quick 10-minute brine of the scallops, the treatment for Thomas Keller's Caramelized Sea Scallops in Ad Hoc at Home. I also decided to use blood oranges for the juice in the sauce, and fried a few shallots for garnish. While I prepared the scallops, John made our favorite Roasted Beet and Orange Salad.
|Beautiful, fresh, sea scallops from Whole Foods (about 7 in a 1/2 lb.)|
|Keller's 10-minute scallop brine|
|A quick sear in a hot pan|
(And yes, I missed that tendon on the front scallop,
and realize I would instantly be chopped on Chopped,
or berated by Gordon Ramsey in Hell's Kitchen)
|These scallops would make a nice amuse bouche on their own|
|But we enjoyed them with our favorite salad|
|John said I could quote him, "I don't know what it is about this salad,|
but I can't get it into my mouth fast enough."
I would have to agree, the salad upstaged the scallops. If you want the scallops to be the star, as they deserve to be, serve them as a hors d'œuvre or with steamed asparagus or green beans on the side.
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group dedicated to Dorie Greenspan‘s newest book, Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As members of the group, we have purchased the cookbook and cook along as much as we can. There is a new recipe each week, and we post about that recipe on Friday. We are asked to refrain from posting the actual recipes on our blog. Dorie always tells a personal story behind each recipe, which makes it that much more intriguing.