Friday, February 12, 2010

Scallops Provencal and Potato Gratin

Tonight's dinner was scallops and potatoes. Although both dishes were great on their own, I don't recommend serving them together. They are both exceedingly rich dishes and it was a bit much all in one meal. However they are both must try recipes and ones that I will make over and over again.

I used Ina Garten's scallops Provencal recipe and as with most of her recipes, it was fabulous. The simplicity of this recipe makes it worth trying.

Scallops Provencal:
1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
All purpose flour for dredging
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 lemon, cut in half

If you're using bay scallops, keep them whole. If you're using sea scallops, cut each one in half horizontally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with flour and shake off excess.
In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in one layer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on one side without moving them. then turn and brown lightly on the other side. Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic , and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes tossing the seasonings with the scallops. Add the wine, cook for 1 minute, and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Potato Gratin:
2 pounds Yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled
3 cups whipping or heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere, Emmental, or Comte

Heat the oven to 400. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, cut the potatoes into 1/8 inch slices. This is what 1/8 looks like.

Put the slices into a bowl of cold water until ready to use.
Put the potatoes in a heavy-based saucepan and add the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat until the cream is boiling, stirring occasionally (gently so you don't break up the potatoes). Taste for seasoning. You don't want bland gratin.

When the cream boils, pour the mixture into a 2 1/2 to 3 quart baking dish. Fish out the 2 cloves of garlic. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Bake until deep golden brown, the potatoes are tender, and the cream has thickened. Even if it looks a little watery, it will thicken up as it cools.

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