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Seared Scallops with Pernod
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Q. Could you tell me a recipe for scallops cooked with Pernod, please? I have had it in France but do not know the proportions.

A. We looked through about 30 French cookbooks without finding a single scallop-Pernod recipe, so it is safe to assume that it is not in the classical repertoire. Nonetheless, there are a few recipes to be found online. Here's the one that we thought looked best:

Seared Scallops with Pernod Cream

Ingredients:  

8 oz. bottle clam broth (low or no-salt, preferred)
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, sliced
5 Tbsp Pernod
1-1/4 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 pounds sea scallops, 10-20 ct.
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp pistachios, chopped very fine
Shrimp or Lobster Shells from 1-1/4 pounds shrimp or lobster (optional)

Instructions:

If using the shrimp or lobster shells, place them in a preheated large skillet over high heat. Move the pan away from the burner, add 2 Tbsp Pernod, and light with a long match or barbecue lighter. Return the pan to the heat and allow the flame to go out by itself. If you feel uncomfortable flambéing, omit the flame and just simmer the shells in the Pernod for a few minutes. Add the clam broth and simmer for about 15 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, melt 1 Tbsp butter and sweat the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes. Place a strainer over the saucepan and strain the fortified clam broth into the sweated shallots and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Reduce the liquid so that you have just a small amount left. Add 2 Tbsp Pernod and the cream. Again, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the cream becomes thicker and coats the back of a spoon well. Strain and reserve warm.

Salt and pepper the scallops. Heat a skillet (large enough to accommodate all the scallops without crowding) so that it becomes very hot. Add enough olive oil to just coat the bottom of the pan and pour out any excess. Add the scallops and sear on both sides until a nut-brown crust is formed. Reserve warm. Finish the sauce by adding the remaining tablespoon of Pernod, adjust the salt and pepper to taste and swirl in the last knob of butter.

Spoon the sauce onto 4 warmed plates, divide the seared scallops into 4 portions and place them on top of the sauce. Garnish with finely chopped pistachio and serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 4

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