Friday, February 18, 2011

The Citrus Goes On - Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique (Gastrique!)

In the midst of my citrus kick, I plopped down on my couch on Sunday morning and flipped open an old copy of Bon Appetit (it takes me a few months to feel like I have really not missed any recipes that I NEED to try) and on the very first page I found a recipe for scallops with blood orange gastrique. The very term gastrique intimidated me and I was quite sure that gastriques were something that could only be concocted in restaurants, by professionals. I quickly moved on but, by the end of the magazine, realized that I couldn't resist it any longer and decided to make my very first gastrique!
The only problem is that, as it turns out, a gastrique is really shockingly easy to make, much less complicated than stock, so it takes away, a bit, from my triumph, but here goes anyways. I began by heating three tablespoons of granulated sugar in a sauce pot over medium heat. As instructed I stirred until it dissolved and, once dissolved, I left it alone until it turned golden (I have burnt sugar in the past and tried very hard to not do that again). Once the sugar was a deep golden color, I gradually poured in one tablespoon red wine vinegar and, as the recipe warned, the mixture hardened. It slowly melted and then I poured in 3/4 cup blood orange juice and 1/4 cup tangerine juice. From here it was easy, boil for five minutes until the mixture has reduced a bit. Then add in 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and bring it back up to a boil. Let it boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup, this took me about 20 mins and I might have even let it go a little longer. Remove from heat and set aside.
Finally, for the scallop - as the recipe instructed I rinsed the scallop, dried it thoroughly, and then seared it at high heat with out moving it around until it was ready to flip. I did it scallop by scallop just to give myself multiple attempts. My first scallop, pictured above, started to sear nicely and then, the pan began to burn, aggressively. It smelled horrible, the scallop seemed to secrete water causing the burning to spread across the pan - it was a bit of disaster. I removed the scallop and the scallop seemed to have come out okay (not great but intact), but the pan was in a bad way. Long story short, I continued to practice but I still do not have my caramelizing tactics down - I will forge on.
         All in all, the meal was a success. The scallop had a nice crispness on the outside and was creamy and tender in the middle, accompanied by the gastrique which, if I do say so myself, turned out quite nicely - a pleasant taste of acidity with a sweet finish.

1 comment:

  1. The ONE scallop looks perfect! Did the rest have to cook in the "disastrous" pan?