Scallops are one the most subtle and delicate tasting shellfish and deserve a sauce that highlights their qualities and character. This velouté style parsley cream sauce, using salmon head stock, brings out the best in these succulent delicacies.
Scallops are available around the world and feature in many cuisines. Served raw as sashimi in Japan, poached in wine in France, and in Hong Kong, dried scallops are a key ingredient in XO sauce.
This dish of scallops in cream sauce also included some diced abalone. I had acquired a can of abalone from a well-meaning friend. Abalone is expensive, and in my opinion, there are better ways to spend your money. Still, I had some and needed to use it, and a pairing with scallops was appropriate. Like scallops, abalone also has a delicate flavour. It needs to be treated with care. They worked very well with the scallops in this dish, but the scallops in cream sauce is just as good without them.
Abalone is in the same shellfish family as New Zealand paua. However, paua is a much stronger tasting shellfish and would not work in this dish, though it makes great fritters! This farmed abalone has a more subtle taste than paua. Like paua, it needs to be cooked carefully to avoid becoming tough. Tinned (canned) abalone is cooked already. Discard the liquid, finely dice, and heat up in the sauce.
The pumpernickel bread adds a nutty texture and taste, which works great with the creamy sauce. But again, it may be hard to find in some places. Substitute for whole-grain bread. If you live in New Zealand, it doesn’t get any better than Vogel’s bread.
Scallops in cream sauce on toasted pumpernickel
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 cup salmon head stock or other fish stock, or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup cooking cream
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 12 large scallops
- 1 can abalone 200g dry weight (alternatively add 8 more scallops)
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices pumpernickel bread
- Salad – miniature brassica or something similar. Radish sprouts are good.
- Delectabilia salad dressing
- Rinse and dry the scallops with paper towels.
- Drain the abalone and cut into thin (1mm) slices.
- Bring a large skillet to a high heat – smoking – then add a little cooking oil.
- Sear the scallops, 1 minute per side. Remove from the pan and set aside. If preparing ahead of time, put in the freezer for 5 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the butter.
- When the butter is melted, stir in the flour. Keep stirring for 2 or 3 minutes, until the mixture starts to turn golden.
- Slowly add the salmon head stock, stirring constantly.
- Add the cooking cream, and stir to combine.
- Add more stock, or some water, if the sauce it too thick.
- Quarter the scallops, add to the sauce, together with the sliced abalone, parsley, and parmesan. Gently stir in to the sauce.
- When the scallops and abalone have heated through, and the parmesan melted, remove the pan from the heat.
- Lightly toast the pumpernickel bread.
- Serve the scallop mixture on to a piece of pumpernickel bread, garnish with miniature brassica salad, and sprinkle with some black pepper.