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Baked scallops August 31, 2011

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Seafood, Wolfe recipe.
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Amazing as it sounds, sometimes I get sick of the big, heavy meats. I want something finer, more refined in taste and texture. Recently, when I felt like this, I turned to seafood: scallops in particular. I decided to try out Nero Wolfe’s recipe for baked scallops, as I was hoping for a dish that was warm and comforting without being heavy.

To start with, I briefly cooked the scallops in a mixture of white wine, water, peppercorns and bay leaves. It only took 4 or 5 minutes for the scallops to be cooked – and I was wary of overcooking them.

I set them aside to cool, and got to work on the sauce. I chopped some shallots and cooked them briefly in some butter, before adding flour to form a roux. I added a couple of cups of the liquid I’d cooked the scallops in, and stirred it until it began to thicken. At this stage, I added salt, parsley and some grated nutmeg.

I didn’t quite follow the directions in preparing the scallops for baking. Instead of mixing the scallops into the sauce, I collected my motley collection of little ramekin-type dishes, and put some scallops in the bottom of each dish.

I strained the sauce, removing the pieces of onion and parsley, and spooned the sauce over the scallops. I topped each dish with a mixture of cheese and breadcrumbs, and put them in the oven for about 25 minutes.

After about 25 minutes, the topping had gone brown and crunchy, and the sauce had mostly set.

The combination of the scallops and the sauce was very nice, with the sauce having an almost vinegary tang thanks to the parsley and onions. However, I wasn’t sure if the sauce was meant to set during the baking process, or remain a liquid. Mine ended up about halfway between – a thick sauce, but not set. I think I would have preferred this if the sauce had been fully set, and that seems more consistent with its name of baked scallops.

Having said all of that the flavour was great, and the cheese on top added a nice texture. This dish definitely fulfilled my desire for something a bit lighter but still comforting. When I make this again, I’d like to try thickening the sauce so that it does set when baked, but that would be the only change I’d make.

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