Scallops in vermouth cream sauce

Rich and luxurious, terrific served on spinach linguini. Serves 2-4.

1 lb sea scallops, trimmed*
1/4 c all-purpose flour (appx)
4 TB butter
1 TB oil
2 shallots, finely minced
1 c dry vermouth
1 c heavy cream
1 tsp dried fine herbs (I use Penzey’s)
1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
salt to taste

Rinse and drain the scallops. Pat dry with paper towels and dust with the flour. Heat the oil and 1 TB butter in a non-stick skillet over high heat until the butter foam subsides and it is on the verge of starting to brown. Add the scallops and sauté until nicely browned – they should be almost but not quite cooked thru. Remove to a plate. Melt the remaining butter in the same pan and sauté the shallots over medium heat until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the vermouth, herbs, and pepper and boil down to about 1/4 c. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Taste for salt and add if needed. Return the scallops to the pan for a moment to heat through and complete cooking.

* Scallops have a thin band of tough tissue running along one side. It’s pretty easy to see if you look closely. If it hasn’t been trimmed off by your fishmonger, you should do it yourself.

Note about scallops: Some scallops are soaked in a phosphate solution before sale. This acts as a preservative, causes them to absorb some water, and makes the scallops pure white. These so-called wet scallops are to be avoided. The absorbed water means you get less actual scallop meat per pound (and I don’t have to tell you what scallops cost!). Also, they are harder to brown because this water comes out in the pan and you end up with simmer scallops – yech. Untreated or dry scallops are much to be preferred. They may look white at a quick glance but are actually a delicate pearl color with subtle variations between individual scallops.

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