About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Friday, August 04, 2006
Yummy Scallops
I've noticed that Ed from Tomato is featuring a Domaine Thomas 2004 Sancerre for Wine Blogging Wednesday #24. I'm sure you all know that under the rigidly tight appellation (AOC) system the French have in place, that wines from a particular appellation or place must be from designated grape varieties, and in the case of Sancerre, wines must be made from either sauvignon blanc or pinot noir grapes. Australians have none of that fussiness and whack any grape vine wherever we feel like it, though we are having more debate over regional boundaries.

In Australia we have to put the name of the grape variety on the front label, because where it's grown will not suggest what is in the bottle, unlike in France where it's not usual to name the grape variety, but if you know where the bottle is from you will have a pretty good idea of what's in it. However in France, a breeze of change is occurring in that some varieties are being planted in areas where they are not allowed under AOC regulations, though these bottles cannot carry the AOC imprimatur.

So if you pick up a bottle of Sancerre and you notice it's white, it has to be a sauvignon blanc. However it doesn't stop there as there are two distinct styles, New World typified by New Zealand, and Old World which is the French style. The New Zealand wines in common with Australia are fruit driven wines and tend to be higher in alcohol than their French counterparts that rely on subtlety and produce mineral and flinty notes that sometimes need bottle age to drink at their best. If you are used to drinking New World sauvignon blancs and were suddenly given a French one, you may be hard pressed to identify it as sauvignon blanc as it is so different.

Ed noted that his bottle of Sancerre went well with scallops and I couldn't agree more. One of the best combinations of food and wine I ever had was scallops in an orange sauce with a bottle of sauvignon blanc.

Scallops in Orange Sauce
adapted from Pierre Koffmann

16 large scallops, halved or 32 small left whole, gristle removed
40 g (1.5 oz) butter
1 teaspoon shallots, finely chopped
25 ml (1 fl oz) Grand Marnier
100 ml (4 fl oz) strained freshly squeezed orange juice
100 ml (4 fl oz) double cream
salt and fresh ground pepper

Melt the butter in a frypan, season the scallops with salt and pepper and when the butter is very hot but not burning fry the scallops for 1 minute each side. Place on a warm plate, cover and keep warm. In the same pan sweat the shallots and when softened add the Grand Marnier, orange juice and cream. Reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season. Arrange the scallops on four plates and pour the sauce around.
  posted at 8:16 am

At 6:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You certainly found a few loves there: scallops, sauvignon blanc and Sancerre!
I would love to try your scallops, sound very inviting. Do you think I could use the wine in place of Grand Marnier? The only thing my husband has really not liked I've made had Grand Marnier in it.

At 2:39 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi tanna, they are really nice, poor you with a husband who doesn't like Grand Marnier. Of course you could use wine, about a wine glass full would be enough, just add it before the other liquids and reduce it right down.

I'm wondering about the Grand Marnier thing, is it the orange taste or the cognac (brandy)? Because there is so little Grand Marnier in it (25 ml) would it be worth splitting the mixture, add a dash of Grand Marnier to one pan with the other liquids, then give your husband a taste? It's the orange thing going on that really makes the recipe work.


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