Sea Scallops in Spinach Leaves
You’ll want the largest, freshest sea scallops available for this dish -- and it’s an ideal way to showcase them. Rich tarragon beurre blanc sauce is pooled on each serving plate and topped with a seared scallop which in turn is topped with three colorful caviars. You could prepare the scallops ahead of time and wrap them, then refrigerate until shortly before you are ready to serve them. Let them come back to room temperature before the final heating in the oven. The beurre blanc sauce must be held at a temperature warm enough to keep it liquid, but not so warm that the butter melts into yellow streaks. An insulated carafe or Thermos does this very well.
- Tarragon Beurre Blanc Sauce
- Shallots - 3 large, minced
- Cold Unsalted butter - 1 pound, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- Tarragon Leaves - 2 tablespoons, chopped
- Tarragon Vinegar - 1/4 cup
- Dry white wine - 2 cups
- Creme Fraiche - 4 ounces
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Spinach leaves - 12 to 18 large, stems removed
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Sea Scallops - 6 large, about 2 ounces each
- American sturgeon caviar - 3 ounces each, whitefish golden caviar, and red salmon caviar
To make the sauce: Saute the shallots in 2 tablespoons of the butter. When translucent, add the tarragon leaves, vinegar, and wine. Cook until reduced to approximately 1/2 cup liquid. Bit by bit, whisk in the remaining butter. Once all butter is incorporated, add the creme fraiche. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat; keep warm.
To prepare the scallops: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and drop in the spinach leaves; cook 30 seconds, remove, and plunge into ice water. When cooled, remove and drain on paper towels. Heat the butter in a saute pan until it starts to brown. Sear the scallops, turning to seal all the edges; do not completely cook them. Remove, drain, and cool. Encase each scallop in 2 to 3 spinach leaves. Fifteen minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 450 F. Lightly butter a shallow ovenproof dish or saute pan. Cover the bottom with a small amount of tarragon sauce and add the spinach-wrapped scallops. Cover the dish with a piece of buttered parchment paper cut to fit and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until hot.
To serve: Spoon tarragon sauce on each warmed plate. Place one scallop on top, and garnish with a rounded spoonful of each caviar.