Scallops in a cream and whisky sauce
This lovely, simple, dish is ideal as a starter. If you're lucky enough to get hold of fresh scallops - in the shell - it's well worth the extra preparation time, ask your local fishmonger. Otherwise, you'll find ready-prepared scallops at the fish counter in most good supermarkets.
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It goes without saying that this isn't the best use of your 1970's Ardbeg, so be sensible. We tested the dish with three whiskies:
BNJ - has some tasty citrus notes that complement the dish very well
Ardbeg 10 yr old - worked well with the bacon and gave a delicious sauce but slightly overpowered the scallops
Glenmorangie Lasanta - rich and nutty, this gave a luxurious depth that really worked with the sweetness of the scallops
Our conclusion is that the BNJ would be perfect when serving this as lunchtime dish, whilst the Lasanta version works well for a dinner party. Please do experiment and let us know how it goes.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 12 scallops
- 3 tbsp double cream
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 knob of butter
- 3 rashers of bacon
- 3 tbsp of whisky
- flat leaf parsley - finely chopped
- cracked black pepper
Thinly slice the bacon rashers and sauté with a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook until lightly browned, then remove from pan and set aside. Drain the pan of excess bacon fat and wipe with kitchen towel to remove any burnt bits.
Melt a nob of butter in the pan and add a drizzle of oil, this prevents the butter from burning. Carefully place the scallops into the pan one by one and cook for 1 – 2 minutes on each side, depending on how big they are. Season with some cracked black pepper, you probably won't need any salt as the bacon should provide this.
The scallops should be nicely browned but it's important not to overcook them as they'll quickly become rubbery. Remove the scallops and set aside – remember they'll continue to cook, even out of the pan. Allow the pan to cool a little.
Stand back and add the whisky to the pan, tilting it slightly so the whisky de-glazes all those lovely flavours - this will smell amazing. Keep the whisky on a medium long enough to cook off the alcohol but not so long that it evaporates. Now turn down the heat, add the cream and stir together to make a rich velvety sauce.
Add the bacon strips (reserving a few strips for garnish) and stir into the sauce.
Plate-up the scallops and spoon the sauce over. Garnish with a scattering of parsley and the remaining bacon strips.