Over the past ten years, I have tried a lot of Rachael Ray recipes, a ton. I vividly remember the first “recipe” I ever tried of hers. It was way back when she had just started her 30 Minute Meals on the Food Network and was a simple spinach salad dressed with nothing more than lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. Delicious, and it certainly doesn’t get simpler than that.
Over the years, I’ve found that her recipes tend to range from OK (perfect for weeknight, nothing to rave about) to good to very good. There have been a few OMG recipes over the years (her Chimichurri Chicken Bites come to mind, though doesn’t quite reach this status), but the majority fall in the “good” category. And then there was tonight…
Catching up on Tivo’d episodes of 30 Minute Meals, I caught a recent one she did on scallops. She made Scallops Bonne Femme (Scallops Good Woman), which was a French-influenced dish inspired by her icon, Julia Child. During the episode, she waxed rhapsodic on how she grew up watching Julia, and loved how she made food seem so accessible. This was, true-to-form, a recipe that came together in under 30 minutes, and with heavy cream and white wine, I’m not sure how you could go wrong.
As the sauce was simmering away on the stove, I snuck a spoon in it for a quick taste and nearly swooned. I swear to you, it is THAT good. The wine gives it that extra flavor level of something special that would make this a perfect dish for entertaining or when you want to treat yourself (because, well, it’s not like scallops, wine, cream and prosciutto [for the accompanying side dish] are budget choices; especially when one, ahem, chars the first batch of prosciutto). If you made the sauce and skipped the bread crumbs/bake-in-oven portion of this recipe, this would be fantastic over angel hair pasta, but for tonight, we were content to dip the hot, crusty, buttered garlic bread in it, making sure to catch every last drop.
If you only try one of Rachael Ray’s recipes, this one is it, for the sauce alone. Seriously. OMG.
Scallops Bonne Femme and Spinach with Crispy Prosciutto
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray, 2007
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped
12 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup cream
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 or 2 dashes hot sauce
8 slices prosciutto
1 clove garlic, grated
2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves chopped
3 to 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 baguette, split and halved
20 large sea scallops, trimmed of any connective tissue and patted dry
1 cup plain bread crumbs
Handful parsley leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic, cracked from skin
1 pound triple washed spinach, stems removed
Place oven rack at center of oven and preheat broiler. Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a small pot over medium heat and add the shallots and mushrooms, cook 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons butter and flour to softened shallots and mushrooms and cook 1 minute then whisk in wine, reduce 30 seconds, add stock and bring to a bubble. Stir in cream and heat through. Season sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper and a couple dashes hot sauce, then reduce heat to low.
While the sauce is working, cover cookie sheet with foil and place prosciutto on the sheet and crisp up 2 minutes on each side under the broiler. It will continue to crisp as it cools.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 6 tablespoons butter, garlic, thyme and basil. Spread over baguette and place under broiler until toasty. Switch oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a skillet or cast iron pan over high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and dress with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Sear the scallops to caramelize 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side then cover them with sauce, bread crumbs and parsley and finish in oven about 6 to 7 minutes until brown and bubbly.
While scallops cook, heat remaining 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat with crushed garlic, cook 1 minute and remove. Add spinach and wilt into skillet. Season greens with salt and pepper.
Serve scallops with wilted spinach alongside and top with broken pieces of crispy prosciutto and toasted bread.