Wherein I Finally Discover Leeks

Recipe: Seared Scallops with Creamed Leeks and Bacon

Between Christmas and New Years, we traveled to San Francisco to see the California kids, Bob and Erin. They have recently moved to a new place near the Presidio and we wanted to see their new neighborhood. We walked all around, biked through Golden Gate Park and saw the Bison, and we all sampled fine food at a few of their neighborhood restaurants. The food in San Francisco is just one of the reasons I like that city, so many different cultures, so many cuisines, and right on the coast so … fresh seafood! However, nothing we had in a restaurant compared well with what Bob and Erin made us for dinner.

After Bob and I biked through Golden Gate park, we did the shopping for the evening meal at one of the many market areas within walking distance of their place. Stupid me, I didn’t bring my camera to capture the abundance of fresh produce and seafood available at astoundingly low prices. After picking up the produce, we bought a pound of bay scallops at a local fish market (from the actual bay about 2 miles away. how local is that!) and biked back to the apartment. City living at its best!

This was my introduction to leeks. I’d seen them, heard of them, and skipped recipes in which they were included because I had no idea what they tasted like or how to prepare them. Yeah, for a food-blogger, I’m not much of a risk-taker, eh?

If you’ve never had leeks, they taste vaguely like onions, only less-so. Their slightly sweet, mild flavor will go well anyplace you’d use an onion, but don’t want the onion flavor to overwhelm. They’re even milder than shallots. Prep is quite easy. You only use the white part of the leek, so the first step is to cut away the very end of the root, and then everything green or green-ish. Slice them up and submerge them repeatedly in water to rinse all the dirt away. Drain and dry, and you’re ready to go.

Once the leeks are prepped, things get into high gear. Rinse and drain the scallops so they don’t have any excess moisture (it makes it easy/possible to sear them quickly). In one skillet, melt the butter over low heat and cook the leeks and garlic, covered, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes (until tender). Add the cream and increase the heat to medium. Cook until the volume of liquid is reduced by 2/3. When the sauce is reduced, add the bacon and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In another skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, then remove and drain on paper towels, reserving 2T of bacon grease. Heat the reserved bacon grease over high heat until smoking. Add the scallops and cook, stirring frequently for two minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the scallops evenly on serving plates, dress with the sauce and serve immediately.

Bob and Erin served this with oven-roasted potatoes dressed with olive oil, and it was delicious. In addition to having a new scallop recipe in my repertoire, I have a brand new vegetable that I’m not scared of anymore!

Seared Scallops with Creamed Leeks and Bacon
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Recipe type: Entree
Author: From “Sensational Seafood”
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 4
Delicious. That is all you need to know.
Ingredients
  • 8 leeks, white parts only
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. fresh bay scallops, or sea scallops cut into quarters, rinsed and patted dry
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions
  1. Trim leeks and slice thinly, place into a colander under running water to remove all the dirt. Drain.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over low heat. Add garlic and leeks, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Add cream and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally until reduced in volume by 2/3.
  3. While sauce is cooking, cook bacon in a second skillet until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Reserve 2 T of bacon grease. When sauce is reduced, add bacon to it and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Heat reserved bacon grease over high heat until smoking, add scallops. Cook, stirring frequently for two minutes. Season scallops with salt and pepper.
  5. Divide scallops evenly between plates and cover with sauce. Serve immediately.
2.1.7

Rating: 5 out of 5 glasses of fine California white wine or Tecate, which is what I had. This is so rich and delicious, it’s hard to describe adequately.

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