Seared Jumbo Scallops with a Champagne-Vanilla Butter Sauce
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 cup dry brut Champagne
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup (2 sticks), cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 12 jumbo sea scallops, cleaned
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
In a medium saucepan combine the shallots, Champagne, and vanilla bean pod and seeds and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture is almost completely reduced, about 7 minutes. Add the cream, bring to a boil, and reduce by half, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and little by little whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, adding each piece before the previous one has completely incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat periodically to prevent the sauce from getting too hot and breaking. Continue until the entire cup of butter pieces has been added and the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season the sauce with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the white pepper. Remove the vanilla bean pod and keep the sauce warm until ready to serve.
Season the scallops on all sides with the remaining salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large, 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the scallops and sear for 2 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan and allow the scallops to cook for another minute. Turn the scallops over and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
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