Brittany-Style Scallops

Course : French
Serves: 4
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12 large sea scallops
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper -- freshly ground
8 small new potatoes
10 sprigs parsley
2 tablespoons flour
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium lemon -- juice only
1 tablespoon creme fraiche or heavy cream

Preparation / Directions:

Ask your fishmonger to prepare the scallops, reserving the roe, if possible. Slice the scallops in half horizontally. Spread them on a paper towel to dry. Season with salt and pepper. Peel and rinse the potatoes. Cook them in a steamer until tender. Remove the leaves from the parsley and chop, discarding the stems. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and roll the scallops in it, shaking off excess flour. Heat 5 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet. Add the scallops (and their roe, if using) and cook over high heat, about 2 minutes on each side, sprinkling them with the lemon juice halfway through the cooking. Sprinkle with the parsley, remove from the skillet, arrange on a serving platter, and keep warm while preparing the sauce. Melt the remaining butter in the skillet, and heat until foam subsides, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the flavorful bits that stick to the bottom. Stir in the creme fraiche and remove from the heat. Pour the sauce over the scallops and surround with the steamed potatoes. The scallops can also be served in their shells, with the potatoes on the side. This recipe serves 4. Comments: In France, the fishing of bivalves is regulated by law, so after about the end of May you can be sure that the scallops served in restaurants are not from French waters. Once abundant in Northern Spain, scallops were the badge of religious sojourners who reached the Spanish pilgrimage site of Saint Jacques de Compostelle; the scallop shell around their necks indicated that they had completed the journey. In this recipe the scallops are prepared simply a la meuniere, sliced in half, sautéed in butter and accompanied by steamed potatoes.

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