What’s the best thing about cooking in Florida?

Answer: my brother.


See that bottle there poking it’s spicy little head out from my mother’s refrigerator? That’s my brother’s doing. And even though he’s cheffing all the way on the other side of the state, his influence on my mom’s kitchen is seen and appreciated.

The second best thing about cooking in Florida is walking into markets and smelling the sweet smell of calico scallops fresh from the gulf singing out to you like little crazed sirens while you’re still 20′ away. They smelled like dinner to me. I decided to combine them with some pasta, asparagus, parmesan shavings and a burre blanc sauce.

Burre Blanc sauce is one of them classic French sauces, basically you cook some shallots in some wine (+citrus) until it reduces a lot and then you whisk in butter (a lot of butter) one lump at a time until you have sauce. The only problem there was to how to make sure my mom didn’t know how much butter I was sticking in the sauce.

The upside of all that butter is that a little goes a long way, and then you have what is essentially flavored butter you can use for other things. One look at the sauce the next morning and I figured I now had breakfast too. Scrambled eggs using the sauce and parmesan, with a side of the leftover asparagus tossed in orange juice and some nice sourdough toast drizzled with truffle oil suited me just fine.

So, for any who know me and are startled by the fact that I’m eating eggs, by themselves, yeah, you’re right, I don’t like them. But then again, then you also know that I’m (almost) always up for proving myself wrong. It’s entirely possible that I’ve only had scrambled eggs made by substandard cooks. (Although, this isn’t actually the case.) My deal with eggs (and nearly everything else I don’t like to eat) is the texture. If they’re cooked so that… uh, curds(?) don’t form I’m all good. Watch this clip of Gordon Ramsay from The F Word if you want to see the basic method (although I tend to take a slower boat to get there), you even get to see him burn toast.

Scallops with Pasta and Burre Blanc Sauce


4 giganto scallops, or more smaller ones
asparagus
pasta (I chose penne)
good quality parmesan (Thanks Kevin!)

2 shallots, minced
1/2 c wine
1 – 2 oz citrus juice (optional, I used orange)
1 T cream
12 T (or so) butter, cubed

salt to taste

Mix shallots, wine and juice together in a skillet over medium high heat until mixture has reduced to 2 – 3 T.

In the meantime: bring salted water to a boil for the pasta. Toss the pasta in the pot and steam the asparagus in a bamboo steamer over the pasta water. (You totally don’t have to do it that way but I’m not a cleaner – so I try not to make more things to clean.)

Once the wine mixture is reduced, add in cream and reduce heat swishing the pan to make sure nothing blows up. Add in butter 1 cube at a time whisking until it’s dissolved into the sauce. Keep checking the past and the asparagus to take them off the heat when they’re almost done. Remove them from heat, drain water, toss the pasta in a little olive oil and cover until all the stuff is done.

When you have about 3 cubes of butter left – heat up a bit of olive oil in a pan until it shimmers. Place scallops in, sprinkle tops with a bit of salt and let them cook until quite brown on one side. (Continue with adding the butter into the sauce.) Flip them over and then cook until that side is quite brown. If they’re firm to the touch they’re done.

Viola! Put the bits together in a pasta bowl, spoon on a couple of T of sauce shave parmesan cheese on top with a vegetable peeler and serve.

Leftover Redux: Scrambled Eggs

3 – 6 eggs
1 – 2 T burre blanc
2 – 4 t cream
salt & pepper
Parmesan shavings
truffle oil (if you’ve got it, thanks Kevin!)

sourdough bread, sliced and toasted

Crack eggs into a small sauce pan, add in burre blank and cook over medium heat stirring with a scraper constantly. Every time you see white bits starting to form around the edges remove from heat and stir constantly until it cools down and then bring back to heat. Do this until the eggs cook and go from looking wet to slightly shiny. Add in cream and salt & pepper. Top with parmesan shavings and drizzle truffle oil over eggs and sourdough bread. Serve and be happy.

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