Flambéed scallops in a brandy cream sauce
Serves 4 people as a starter, or 2 for a main course.
- Pick and then chop the parsley leaves and put to one side.
- Prepare the scallops: rinse in cold water, and then cut away the tougher muscle part of the white flesh around one side of each scallop (roughly opposite where the orange roe attaches). Also cut away any darker bits from the roe of each scallop.
- Let the scallops drain on a piece of paper towel.
- Find a wide, solid frying pan that you can flambé in – preferably stainless steel or enamelled cast-iron (non-stick coatings are not so good for flambéing). Melt the butter on a high heat, and add the olive oil to stop it burning.
- When it is really hot, add the scallops and toss in the hot fat very quickly.
- Pour the brandy over the scallops and use a lighter or matches to set it on fire. Shake the pan gently over the heat until the flames go out.
- Pour in the cream and mix. Reduce the heat and let it cook for a minute or two until the scallops are only just cooked through. Watch it carefully as you don’t want to overcook them.
- Stir through the parsley and season to taste with flakes of sea salt and ground white pepper.
- Serve the scallops with some nice crusty bread for a starter, or over mashed potato or pasta to make it a more filling main course. Whatever you serve it with make sure it will be ready when the scallops are!
- There is less danger of over-cooking the scallops if you chop the parsley, measure out all your ingredients and find the lighter/matches before you start cooking them!
- While it seems wasteful cutting away the muscle part of each scallop, it shrinks and gets tough when cooked.
- If you are serving the scallops with pasta, increase the brandy and cream by 50% to provide enough sauce to coat the pasta.
- Freeze the parsley stalks for next time you make a stock.