Seared Scallops on Wilted Watercress with Champagne Butter Sauce, and Parmesan Crisps
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter plus 8 tablespoons, cut into pieces
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 5 bunches fresh watercress, coarse stems removed, well rinsed with water clinging to leaves
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 20 sea scallops, patted dry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup minced shallots
- 1/2 cup Brut Champagne
- Parmesan Crisps, recipe follows
- Parmesan Crisps:
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 4 teaspoons sesame seeds
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the watercress, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pinch white pepper, and cook, stirring, until the watercress is wilted and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Lightly season both sides of the scallops with salt and white pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook until golden and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
Add the shallots to the oil remaining in the pan, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 1 minute. Add the Champagne and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan, and cook until reduced by 50 percent in volume. Add the remaining butter, 1 piece at a time, taking the skillet from the heat as necessary to prevent the sauce from breaking, and cook, whisking constantly, until all the butter is incorporated. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Cook and Pair with: Charbaut Brut Champagne, Epernay, FranceParmesan Crisps:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
Unfold the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Using a pastry brush, brush the dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and sesame seeds, then roll with a rolling pin to make the cheese and seeds adhere to the pastry. Cut the pastry in half horizontally, then into desired shapes, such as diamonds or rectangles. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake until golden and risen, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot.
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