|Seared Scallops in White Wine Cream Sauce|
(Sauce Noix de Saint Jacques)
My attempt...see below for the Sur la Table version
It’s a great day when you get the perfect gift. I’m not talking about the gift that you’ve dropped hints for starting with last year’s birthday. I’m talking about the gift you receive that would be what you’d buy if you were going to treat yourself, but probably wouldn’t. It’s the gift that comes when someone knows you so well that they spend time thinking about what would match your passion. That’s the true gift. It’s the thought that goes into figuring out the perfect gift. And it’s that thought that is sometimes more of the gift than the actual gift. People often say, “It’s the thought that counts,” when they receive a less-than-perfect gift. But the thought…the thought, to me at least, really makes it.
|Oliver (my daughter's dog) reacts to the flames in picture one|
and then "warms up" to them when he realizes
there's cake to be had!
Such was the case on my last birthday. After we had enjoyed fantastic Mexican at Casa Toro in Coopersburg, PA, my two children and their spouses handed me a clasp envelope. Inside were some calendars and brochures as well as a gift card to Sur la Table in King of Prussia. The idea was for me to take a cooking class. Was that the perfect gift, or what?
It was difficult to select which course to sign up for. Sur la Table offers dozens, and you can hardly find a day on their calendar on which a course or two isn’t listed. Most are offered at night and most cost in the neighborhood of $70. A typical class includes two full hours of instruction, and you get to eat the food that you prepare! I chose Classic and Contemporary Sauces as sauces is an area in which I have limited experience.
On the night of the class, I reported to the demonstration kitchen, located at the rear of the store, and donned an apron and nametag prepared for the five students who would be taking the class. That was a great class size, and most Sur la Table classes are capped at 20.
Chef David Kinsey was our instructor for the evening, and I appreciated his straightforward and positive approach. It was easy to tell that this is someone who has a passion for what he does, and he loves sharing it. The most appreciated aspect of the cooking class experience was that David is a teacher. There are too many people, while unquestionably passionate about their subject, lack the ability to teach it. As a former principal, I found myself mentally critiquing David’s instruction and he got top marks. The information was presented methodically and sequentially. He was also affirming and inspired confidence. It's always great to make connections with folks, too. During our evening together I learned that David is a Spring-Ford alumni and was initially trained by Dean Soltes, who continues to instruct in the culinary arts at the Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center.
|Celery Root Salad with Herbed Remoulade and Thyme-|
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fig Gastrique
The dishes we prepared were a full meal, starting with a Celery Root Salad with Herbed Rémoulade. There were two main courses; Thyme-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fig Gastrique and Seared Scallops in White Wine Cream Sauce (Sauce Noix de Saint Jacques). For dessert, Homemade Butterscotch Sauce with Guinness Stout Ice Cream. (We were supposed to have plain old vanilla, but the Guinness Stout Ice Cream was left over from another class David had taught.)
Since the class, I’ve only tried one of the recipes on my own, and I’m not going to try and provide all four in a single post, so let me offer a photo essay of the experience, along with my attempt at the scallop dish.
|All of the ingredients for each recipe were portioned and prepared in advance for us.|
We felt like TV chefs! (These are the ingredients for the Herbed Remoulade.)
|The mark of a true chef; the ability to tell if something is right by|
simply taking a whiff. Not pictured, we used a kitchen mandolin to
julienne the celery root and carrots.
|Here is a shot of the rear of the demonstration kitchen. In addition to|
Chef Kinsey, there were two assistants who keep us supplied with ingredients
and who cleaned everything up. Like I said, we felt like TV chefs!
|Chef Kinsey pours the beginnings of the white wine cream sauce into a blender.|
The sauce is finished with additional white wine and thickened with corn starch.
The scallops recipe follows at the end of this post.
|Aren't these beautiful? Compare to mine, below. Most cooks are reluctant to|
have the pan hot enough to sear the flavor in and brown correctly. I tried,
but obviously, I'm still learning.
|These are mine at home. Browning, but not quite enough. Like I said, I'm still learning.|
|Here Chef Kinsey pours the pureed cooked scallops into thickened white wine|
to finish the sauce. It smelled so good!
|A little final simmering and it was ready to pour over the plated scallops.|
SEARED SCALLOPS IN WHITE WINE CREAM SAUCE
(Sauce Noix de Saint Jacques)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
36 bay scallops, divided (Chef Kinsey had us use about 12-15 small bay scallops to make the sauce and then used larger sea scallops to sear and serve with the sauce.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2½ cups muscadet or other light, dry white wine such at Pino Grigio, divided
2 cups fish stock
¾ cup heavy cream
1½ Tablespoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
Melt 1 Tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season 12 of the scallops with salt and pepper to taste. Cook scallops in skillet until golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes; transfer to plate.
Add 2 cups of the muscadet and 2 cups of the fish stock to skillet; cook until reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. Pour liquid into a blender; puree along with the previously cooked scallops and heavy cream. For the fish stock I used 2 cups of instant miso, which is a Japanese fish soup.
Melt remaining 1 Tablespoon of the butter in another large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook remaining 24 scallops until golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes. To serve, divide scallops between your serving plates. Ladle the cream sauce over the scallops, garnish with parsley and serve. Serves 8.
Stay tuned for the other recipes from the Sur la Table class in future Dad in the Kitchen posts. Enjoy!