Cooking Like A French Chef- Bien Sûr!

Sauteed Scallops and Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Polenta 1When in Paris, I make a point of going to small, new bistros, most of which are overseen by young French chefs. I book these tables because nowhere is the food more inventive or reasonably priced. These gifted cooks, who buy fresh seasonal ingredients and pair them in unusual ways, know no boundaries when it comes to creativity. My mouth still waters when I think of a perfectly sautéed cod fillet served on a gratin of potatoes laced with bits of ham and Gruyère that I sampled one cold winter night. At another bistro in mid-summer I savored every bite of that same fish set atop a colorful ratatouille. Succulent slices of roasted rib of beef offered with batons of blanched celery root and a garnish of crisp baby romaine leaves caught my eye and my palate on another visit.

In my kitchen, I often follow the philosophy of these talented cooks, combining seasonal ingredients simply but in unexpected ways. One such dish—Sautéed Scallops and Shaved Brussels Sprouts on Polenta–has become a favorite of my husband, and recently got high marks from two of my discerning (make that very picky!) assistants.

For this all-in-one entree you start by making polenta, adding yellow corn meal to simmering chicken stock and then stirring in some Parmigiano Reggiano. Next, sliced Brussels sprouts get a quick sauté in another pan, and then sea scallops are pan fried until golden brown. For serving, polenta is spread in shallow bowls, then topped with scallops and a border of Brussels spouts. A shower of Parmesan makes a finishing touch for this delectable dish. Just tell your friends you’re cooking like those youthful Parisian chefs.

Sautéed Scallops and Shaved Brussels Sprouts on Polenta

3 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
2/3 cup yellow corn meal (No need to use stone-ground in this recipe.)
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano plus 1/4 cup extra for the garnish
Kosher salt

Brussels Sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, sliced 1/4 inch or less thick (see note)
3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sea Scallops
2 tbsp olive oil
12 extra large sea scallops (1 to 1 1/3 pounds total) side mussels removed (see note)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons chopped flat leaf parsley

1. For polenta, in a medium, heavy saucepan set over medium heat, bring the stock to a simmer, then gradually, a few tablespoons at a time, whisk in the cornmeal. Continue, whisking constantly, until all has been added and mixture thickens, but is still somewhat loose, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmigiano and season with salt to taste. Cover and set aside.

2. For Brussels sprouts, in a large, heavy skillet set over medium high, heat the oil until quite hot. Add the sprouts and stir and cook for 5 minutes until crisp tender. Add the stock, cover, and cook until all the liquids have evaporated, and sprouts are tender for about 3 minutes or more. Watch carefully so that sprouts do not overcook. Season with salt. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm and set aside.

3. For scallops, pat dry and then salt and pepper generously on both sides. Heat the oil in a medium large, heavy skillet set over medium high heat. When oil is very hot, add scallops and cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, for about 3 minutes per side. (Time will vary slightly depending on how large your scallops are.)

4. To serve, spoon some polenta in the center of four shallow bowls. Make borders around polenta with Brussels sprouts. Arrange 3 scallops on top of polenta in each bowl and drizzle them with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice. Sprinkle each serving with a tablespoon of Parmesan and a teaspoon of parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Market notes:

Some groceries (like Trader Joe’s) sell Brussels spouts already sliced. A 10-oz package works well in this recipe and is a big time saver.

If you can’t find extra large scallops, use large ones and count on four per serving.

Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2013


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4 thoughts on “Cooking Like A French Chef- Bien Sûr!

  1. First, let me thank you for sending me the SCALLOPS AUGRATIN WITH. TOMATOES recipe . My husband thanks you too. The dish was wonderful as ever!
    Now, here is another recipe for scallops that looks fabulous! I. Can’t wait to make it.
    Thanks Betty
    Glad to have found you again after that long ago class .

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