seared scallops with meyer lemon beurre blanc

Our days are numbered.  Finally.

I rushed home with takeout sushi, hoping to beat B to the apartment.  I had failed.  As I walked into the house and tried to keep Brix from having a heart attack, I saw the bottle of bubbly on the counter and as I pushed the door the rest of the way open, I saw my husband.  I went to greet him with a hug and kiss as I always do, but this time was superceded by my congratulations.  He got a job in Kansas City.  Five long months of living apart were finally over.  I thought I could keep it together.  I failed again.

I sobbed as I hugged him tight, so thankful for the end to be in sight.  I sniffled through the opening of the celebratory sparkling wine and wiped tears away as the glasses were filled with the golden liquid.  It was a special wine (the same he had used in his marriage proposal) and I’ll tell you this – that wine, with a side of good news, tasted damn good.

But, if you know anything about me by this point, you know that I can’t call a celebration complete with a meal carted into the house in styrofoam containers and a plastic grocery bag.  We needed a little J & B style celebration.  We spent a great weekend together with beautiful weather and a plethora of activities in our new hometown.  I wanted to close the weekend with something special and decidedly spring.  Fat asparagus and delicate sea scallops seemed like a fantastic idea, but I needed a little more to push the meal to celebratory mode.  Remember how I said my favorite food was sauce?  Enter beurre blanc.

Beurre blanc is like risotto to me, meaning, once you get the technique down, you can play with it and modify it as your heart desires.  With the richness of the scallops and the bright asparagus, I wanted to counter the additional richness of the sauce with a bright splash of Meyer lemon.  To me, Meyer lemons taste like a honeyed, herbal version of a lemon.  Some call the flavor a cross between an orange and a lemon, but there’s something deeper under the surface that enhances the dishes in which it is included. 

One of the best things about this meal is that it comes together in a flash – the scallops take just minutes to sear and the sauce pulls together as fast as butter melts.  All of this was a good thing, because we were anxious to open another bottle of bubbles to celebrate our good news.  Sadly, the meal ended as all do – no food remaining and too short of a time had passed.  As B packed up the car yet again and I walked to the car with Brix, I greeted our weekend ritual of parting a little differently.  I was sad to see him go, certainly.  But I didn’t cry, unlike the other 21 Sundays since this began.  I had cried tears of joy on Friday.

seared scallops with meyer lemon beurre blanc

recipe:  jb’s pour house

 

1 lb. sea scallops, rinsed and patted thoroughly dry

1 c. dry white wine, such as chardonnay

2 Meyer lemons

3 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots

1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary

1/4 tsp. black peppercorns

2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes (preferrably European style)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Canola oil

Combine white wine, zest and juice of Meyer lemons, shallot, rosemary, white wine vinegar and black peppercorns in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil until reduced to about 1/3 cup.  Strain remaining liquid into a small bowl.  Discard solids and wipe out the saucepan.  Return the liquid to the saucepan and place over medium low heat.  Begin to whisk in butter, one cube at a time, until butter is thoroughly incorporated.  Do not let sauce sit without stirring and do not let it boil, or you will break the sauce.  Once all butter has been incorporated, season to taste with salt.  Reduce heat to low and remove pan from heat.  Alternately place pan back on heat and whisk often as scallops are cooking to prevent sauce from breaking.

Place a large skillet over high heat.  Add about 1-2 Tbsp. canola oil.  Season both sides of scallops lightly with salt and pepper.  Place scallops in pan and sear, about 2-3 minutes, being careful not to move scallops once placed in the pan.  Turn scallops over and sear for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve immediately with as much beurre blanc as you like!  (You may want a piece of bread to sop up all of the deliciousness.)

Fin.

– j

All content and photographs © 2010 – 2011 jb’s pour house

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fried green beans with meyer lemon aioli

I hated vegetables as a kid.  In fact, it was only recently, now that I’m nearly 30 years old, that I finally admitted to my parents what my secret strategies had been.  I’d chew and chew until whatever offending vile veggie had been pulverized to the point that I could discreetly place the cud inside my cheek and excuse myself to the bathroom to flush the fowl pulp to the sewers.  A dinner roll or baked potato also were excellent hiding places – eat out the center, place as many vegetables as possible into the cavity, pinch closed, sigh loudly, and declare “I’m full.”  Unluckily for my sisters and me, the family dog wasn’t too keen on the veggies either – she was much more interested in our steak – so she failed as yet another method of dodging out on my daily dose of vitamins.

Time changes many things – but a delicate batter fried golden brown and a rich homemade mayonnaise spiked with the herbal-honeyed juice of a meyer lemon don’t hurt, either.  I admit, I’m late to jump on the fried green bean bandwagon.  It never really tripped my trigger.  But then, I stumbled across this recipe, saw the meyer lemon, and figured it was about time I try this on for size.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for aioli.

With this admission comes a huge mea culpa to my grandma.  For years she sang the praises of french fries with mayonnaise, to which I wrinkled up my nose (yes, I’m getting real wrinkles there now) and declared it disgusting.  Grandma, I’m sorry.  You were so, so right.  However, I must insist that it be real mayonnaise, not the store-bought brand.  A food processor, an egg, vinegar and some oil and ooh baby, we’re in business.  And when you throw meyer lemon zest and juice into the mix, those veggies aren’t looking so bad after all!

fried green beans with meyer lemon aioli

recipe:  adapted from Loretta Keller of San Francisco’s Coco500

1 large egg yolk (Can use pasterized if you are sensitive about eating raw eggs.  I’m not.  Bring it, Rocky!)

1 Tbsp. champagne or white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

1 c. canola oil (maximum – you may not need this full amount)

2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced

Salt, to taste

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 c. cold club soda

1 c. rice flour

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 lb. green beans, trimmed

Canola oil

 

In a small food processor, combine egg yolk, champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, and garlic clove.  Pulse until combined and garlic is finely chopped.  With the food processor running, slowly stream in canola oil.  Continue to pour very slowly until mixture has thickened and tripled to quadrupled in volume.  Add Meyer lemon zest and juice.  Process until fully combined.  Season to taste with salt.  Add cayenne and set aside.  If making ahead, refrigerate and let come to room temperature for about 20 minutes prior to serving.

Fill a large stockpot or wok halfway with oil.  Place on medium high heat until temperature reaches 350 degrees.  Combine club soda and rice flour in a medium mixing bowl.  Once flour is fully incorporated, add balsamic vinegar and mix well.  Add green beans, about one handful at a time, and toss with hands or tongs until beans are fully coated.  Using tongs, place about 8-10 green beans in hot oil.  Fry about 4 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet and season to taste.  Repeat with remaining green beans.

Serve immediately with Meyer lemon aioli.

Sometimes, you want a little extra crunch.  While I preferred the recipe in its original form above, b preferred the extra crispy version.  To do this, after dipping the beans in the rice flour/club soda batter, dredge in panko and repeat as directed above.  Crunch away!

 

Hope this has taught your kids a few new tricks on how to hide their veggies and has provided you with a new way to enjoy them!

– j

All content and photographs © 2010 jb’s pour house

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