- 4 ounces field-grown mache, baby spinach, or watercress
- 2 pounds dry-packed medium scallops
- Medium-coarse sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- Crusty bread, sliced and toasted
- Heat oven to 350ºF.
- 1-1/4 cups loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
One of my earliest memories of living in Paris is entering the local bistro as a three-year-old, being greeted by the courtly waiter, and then being charmed by a dish that immediately caught my eye: escargots on display in a glass case.
The pretty round shells sat face-up and were stuffed with a pale green butter that made them oh-so delicious.
I don't think escargots have ever tasted as wonderful to me since, but I have found that the butter has many tasty applications beyond snails. It goes particularly well with rich seafood, such as scallops.
Try it this way, or smear it over split lobster or shrimp and broil, roast, or cook in a wood oven, should you be so lucky to have one.
FOR SNAIL BUTTER: Finely chop parsley and garlic together. Place in a bowl, add butter and zest, and mash together with a fork until well combined.
Place mâche in a large bowl. Set aside.
FOR SCALLOPS: Generously season scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron pan over high heat until quite hot. Add oil and then scallops, slowly feeding them into pan, being careful not to crowd pan or lower the temperature of it; as scallops form a crusty brown sear on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes, move them on top of each other and add more to the pan. When all scallops are browned on one side, remove pan from heat and dot scallops with snail butter.
Place skillet in oven for 5 minutes to melt butter and cook scallops through.
Transfer scallops and butter to bowl with mache, add lemon juice, toss, and serve immediately, with crusty bread to sop up buttery juices.
Makes 4 main-course servings; 6 small plates
Excerpted from OLIVES & ORANGES by Sara Jenkins & Mindy Fox. Copyright @ 2008 by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.