I’m a huge fan of all kinds of shellfish. If you want to eat fish for dinner, there’s nothing faster and easier to cook. Plus, they offer a great variety of different flavors and textures. And they always bring me back to childhood. I ate these scallops for the first time when I was ten years old. And I kept cooking them since then.
There used to be a nice little restaurant close to home some years ago. It was called Osteria dei Ricordi. The chef was Livia, an old lady with a strong passion for French cooking. She was a fantastic chef, and I still think her to be one of the best pastry chefs in the world. Her creations were a revelations.
Livia passed away some years ago, but her recipes didn’t get lost. My mom, a great cook herself, learned a lot from her. Livia loved giving her her recipes and cooking secrets. I think she saw her as a sort of daughter. So this is the story behind these scallops! I’m sure that Livia’s touch will reach you as soon as you taste them.
The presence of the vodka is so eighties-style, I know! But it’s perfect with the sweetness of the scallops and the creamy texture of the white sauce. The fried croutons and the almonds give to this dish the final crunchy touch!
Scallops with Vodka White Sauce, Almonds and Fried Croutons (4 servings)
4 scallops, with shells
40 gr. almonds, thinly sliced
40 gr. butter
30 gr. all-purpose flour
400 ml. milk
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of sea salt
40 gr. breadcrumbs
a shot glass of vodka
extra butter to grease the shells
LET’S DO IT!
Carefully wash the scallops from the sand. Dry the shells with a cloth. Now it’s time for the white sauce. Heat up the milk with a pinch of nutmeg. In another pot, melt the butter. When it’s completely melted, add the flour and stir vigorously. Cook the mixture for 2 minutes while you keep stirring.
Now add the warm milk and mix with a whisk to avoid clumps. The white sauce should cook for 5 minutes more or less, or until it grows together. Keep beating the sauce. At this point, add a pinch of salt and the shot glass of vodka. Stir until you obtain a creamy sauce and let it cool.
Preheat the oven at 200° C (392° F). Now take the shells and grease them. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on them. Gently put the scallops each one in its greased shell. Add a pinch of salt, then pour the white sauce on them.
In a pan, roast the almonds without burning them. Pay attention, since they’re very thin and they burn easily. When they have a nice brown color, take them away from the pan.
Bake the scallops in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until they are slightly brown on top. Add the roasted almond. You can serve them with croutons fried in a pan with some butter.