Black Tie Scallops with Black Truffles
Elegant black-and-white layers are revealed inside golden puff pastry for this clever dish. Use very large scallops for the stacking; you will get about 3 slices per scallop.
- Clarified Unsalted Butter - 2 ounces (4 tablespoons)
- Scallop Muscles - 8 ounces (alt. other scrap scallop meat)
- Unsalted Butter - 4 ounces (1 stick)
- Whole Shallots - 4, peeled and roughly chopped
- Thyme - 4 sprigs
- Rosemary - 4 sprigs
- Bay Leaf - 1/2
- Dry Vermouth - 2 cups
- Port - 1 cup
- Veal Stock - 2 cups
- Truffles - 2, chopped
- Black Truffle Oil - 1/2 tablespoon
- Large Sea Scallops (Maine diver scallops preferred) - 5 to 6
- Spinach leaves - 16 large, blanched
- Black Truffle - 1
- Puff Pastry - 1 sheet
- Egg - 1
- Fleur de sel or very fine salt
- Freshly ground white pepper
- Chervil Sprig - 4
To prepare the sauce: Heat the clarified butter in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat and add the scallop scraps. Toss or stir until browned. Add one half of the butter and all the vegetables and herbs. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned. Add the vermouth; avert your face and ignite, burning off the alcohol. When the flames die down, stir up the browned bits from the bottom. Cook until nearly dry. Add the port, stir up the browned bits again, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the veal stock and simmer 15 minutes. Strain and keep warm.
To prepare the scallops: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray lightly with vegetable oil spray. Crisscross four spinach leaves, top sides down, on a piece of parchment so that they form a rough star. Cut each scallop into 3 thick, even slices. Slice the truffle one half the thickness of the scallop slices. Place one scallop slice in the center of the spinach leaf star. Put a truffle slice on top. Make 2 more layers and top with a scallop slice. Wrap each spinach leaf up around its scallop-truffle stack and press to seal. Repeat to make four packets.
Spread the puff pastry on a work surface. Roll out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut into four 2-inch-by-8-inch strips and eight 2-1/2-inch circles; use a scalloped round cutter for the circles. Lightly whisk the egg with a few drops of cool water to make an egg wash. Place a scallop packet on its side at one end of a piece of pastry and roll up almost closed. Brush the open edge of the pastry with egg wash and finish rolling, pressing to seal. Brush one scalloped circle with egg wash and press on one open side of the pastry; turn over and repeat on the other side. Stand the pastry on end in a baking pan. Repeat with the other spinach-wrapped packets. Brush the pastry all over with the egg wash. Bake 10 minutes, until golden.
To serve: Stir the remaining butter into the sauce base and warm over medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread sauce in the bottom of each of four small copper skillets or serving dishes. Place bits of shaved truffle in a circle around the pan. Slice a pastry in half vertically to reveal the scallop-truffle interior and place in the center of a pan, overlapping the slices and facing the black-and-white side up. Drizzle with truffle oil. Repeat with the other pans. Top each with a chervil sprig.