victor who?

Back around 2000 or so (yep, it's one of thoooose posts), it seemed like we were spending a lot of time in Manhattan. I mean, for us, we were. I will say I was there 9 times in 3 years. After some initial adjustments/settling in, we had a lot of fun there. By the time we stopped visiting in 2001 or something, we were like locals, running into old friends on the street (I mean yeah, they were friends from Atlanta that we hadn't seen in 10 years, but) and sidling into comfy booths that were almost still warm from our last visit.

Well, that's not true at all, ok, but we did have some "regular" places we went. One of them was a very sweet little restaurant called Rialto on Elizabeth St. (closed in 2007), with a very great vibe, when we were inside the lights were always off, in a good way, and outside they had a perfectly secluded back garden you could hang in and forget where you were. We have some analog pictures somewhere I think.

Anyway, the single menu item that stuck us good was scallops in a Pernod cream sauce. I think we talked about this dish for a good 3 years or so after we ate it. And I don't think I've ever tried to make it, or at least if I did I've never come close to succeeding, until tonight.

As written below, it's not what I did, but it's what I will do next time. The amount of shallots in the recipe I tried gave the sauce the perfect consistency, but the flavor was a bit too manly and ended up overpowering things. So I think I would like to replace half the shallots with fresh corn off the cob, to add sweetness while maintaining the pretty textbook feel of the sauce. I'm also now adding the Pernod along with the white wine instead of at the end to give the alcohol a chance to cook off a bit more, tonight's was a touch too boozy. But now, this is the recipe.

Oooh, also, tonight's parsnips were the best I've ever had, I guess they're in season or something. They were ideal.


scallops in pernod cream sauce with roasted parsnip mash.

6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 cup fresh corn, cut from the cob
1 and 1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup whipping cream
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, divided
3 tsp Pernod

18 or 24 large sea scallops, patted dry

1.5 kilo parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
olive oil

Serves 6.

Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sauté 3 minutes. Add wine; boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add corn, cream, 1 tbsp tarragon, and Pernod, if using. Simmer for 30 minutes, watching carefully, until corn is cooked and sauce coats back of spoon. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

MAKE SURE SCALLOPS ARE TOTALLY DRY. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper; cook in A COMPLETELY DRY HOT HOT HOT SKILLET until brown and almost cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer warmed mash to plates, Spoon sauce over. Place 4 scallops on each plate; sprinkle with remaining tarragon.


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