Monday, February 11, 2008

Best Meal I Didn't Get to Eat Until the Next Day

Black Pepper Fettuccine from Ohio City Pasta, Nantucket Bay Scallops from Kate's, and Garden Parsley (last week was freakishly warm) in a Sauvignon Blanc, Creme Fraiche, and Garlic sauce. As for the title of the post, just as each part of the dish was getting ready for a quick toss in the frying pan the phone rang. It was 7:50 pm, and a friend was letting me know he was running late for a dinner gathering we had both committed to attending about a month ago--it was about 30 minutes away from my house. Oops, forgot about that one. Everything above was thrown together for a quick picture, a few bites, and then placed in the fridge. I was out the door by 8. Luckily, as with any dinner party I've ever been to or hosted, the hosts were running late too. And the dinner was very good.

As for the dish, it couldn't have been much simpler, and tasted surprisingly good reheated for lunch the next day. While the water was coming to a boil I sauteed the scallops in butter in a hot pan. I used straight butter, and that, combined with wanting to slightly undercook the scallops (which were seasoned with salt and pepper), hindered getting a good, crusty sear, but nothing was lost. Also, unlike the bigger sea scallops, these were tough to get to stand on the flat sides without tipping over, so once a few fell on their round sides I gave up on turning them over individually and sauteed them as I would anything else, but a lot more briefly.

Once the scallops were cooked just less than I wanted them to be in the completed dish, I removed them from the pan and for a rest in a bowl. The water still wasn't boiling. I added some minced garlic to the scallop pan, and once it softened I added some white wine and reduced it until syrupy. [Around this point the salted pasta water came to a boil and I added the fresh pasta the water.] Once the wine was cooked down I added a few squirts of homemade creme fraiche (I had it in one of those hot dog stand style ketchup bottles).

I don't wish to cover what is/isn't creme fraiche here, but google it for a host of recipes and the debate over what's authentic. I used a ratio of one tbs buttermilk to one cup lightly pasteurized heavy cream (The Indoor Winter Farmers Market was the only place I was able to find non-ultrapasteurized heavy cream around Cleveland, but it's possible that one of the cheese shops at the West Side Market, or some other places, carry it too. Prepackaged creme fraiche from Vermont is available in the Mediterranean store at the West Side Market.), stirred, and let the mixture sit out on a counter in my kitchen for about 24 hours. The creme fraiche tightened up the sauce just about instantly--then the phone rang. I added the pasta (which cooked in about 3 minutes), scallops, and chopped parsley to the pan sauce, mixed, and then served.

That was it. Hopefully next time I get to use these great little scallops there will be some more time to contemplate them shortly after cooking rather than one day later.

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