Scallops in Tangerine Sauce


Main dish

Scallops in Tangerine Sauce

Otherwise known as Coquilles St. Jacques, Sauce Mandarine, this dish was created by chef Jean-Louis Palladin. If the sauce is too strong-tasting or too thin, swirl in bits of butter. The recipe requires a nonreactive saucepan; enameled cast-iron, stainless steel, glass and nonstick cookware are good choices. Note that the scallops need to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

16 large fresh sea scallops, preferably all the same size (about 11/2 pounds total)

3 tablespoons fruity olive oil

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped celery leaves

2 pinches crumbled fresh thyme leaves

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

11/2 cups fresh tangerine juice

11/4 cups low-sodium fish stock, boiled until reduced to 1/4 cup

2 tablespoons demi-glace, store-bought or homemade

1/2 cup heavy cream

Fresh lemon juice (optional)

Water (optional)

Rinse the scallops; use paper towels to pat them dry. Place in a quart-size zip-top bag along with the oil, parsley, celery and thyme leaves. Season lightly with salt and pepper; seal and massage gently to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, boil the tangerine juice in a small, nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat until it has reduced to 1/3 cup.

Stir in the fish-stock reduction and the demi-glace. Once the mixture starts to boil, add the cream. Cook without stirring for 5 to 7 minutes, until large bubbles appear on the surface and the sauce begins to thicken. After the first 5 minutes, stir with a wooden spoon to determine the sauce's thickness; when you pull the spoon through, you should be able to briefly see the bottom of the pan.

Taste it; if the sauce is too sweet, adjust with a few drops of lemon juice and freshly ground pepper to taste. If the sauce has turned oily, you have reduced it too much; in this case, stir in a tablespoon of water, and it should immediately smooth out. (The sauce can be held over warm water, such as in a double boiler, for up to 1 hour and reheated gently.)

About 15 minutes before serving, position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler; heat the broiler. Reheat the sauce on the stove top, if necessary.

Remove the scallops from the refrigerator; discard the marinade. Arrange them on a broiling rack or grill pan. Broil on each side for 2 minutes or until lightly browned and just cooked through.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the warm sauce onto each warm plate, tilting the plates to coat the bottom evenly. Arrange 4 scallops on top of each portion. Serve right away. Makes 4 servings.

Source: Adapted from "The Cooking of Southwest France: Recipes from France's Magnificent Rustic Cuisine," by Paula Wolfert (Wiley, 2005).

Note: Ingredients are too varied for a meaningful analysis.

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