Thursday, February 02, 2006

Scallops & Prawns in Creamy Dill Sauce

My fridge is in a state of emergency. All those leftovers are taking over such that opening and closing the fridge door is an exercise much like Bush trying to spell Afghanistan.

Off tangent moment – I just love that cartoon of Bush in his Oval Office writing “Bomb Afkh ...” ... next box - “Bomb Agfun ...” … and finally “Bomb Iraq”. I totally cracked up when I saw that.

Back to my very own Axis of Evil, primarily, my freezer, fridge and pantry … I had food that was threatening to auditioning for a Wes Craven movie. It was time to fight back. The biggest casualty was the dill. I managed to salvage a fair bit. So I decided to make my favourite seafood dish – Scallops and Prawns in Creamy Dill Sauce.

I first made this in 1999 when I bought this thin cookbook on at the airport bookstore for something to read on a short flight. It was by the famed Family Circle group which is so popular with our mums and aunts, and its biggest attraction was the title, Quick Short Recipe Cookbook.

One day, I decided to make the Scallops and Prawns in Creamy Dill Sauce for a special anniversary dinner and watched with amazement as my then boyfriend picked up the entire pan to lick every last droplet of sauce.

I kid you not. The best thing in this dish, aside from the sweet and succulent seafood, is the sauce. When I first made it, I thought there was way too much sauce. The first suspicions that I might be wrong began as I drizzled the sauce over the seafood mounded over rice. I was not particularly worried and served what I considered a normal amount of sauce over the each serving.

After the first two bites of the creamy rice, we were racing back to the kitchen to lay claim to whatever sauce was left! It was a monumental battle … dirty, underhanded and feral. What was supposed to be a romantic dinner became a savage contest of the most gluttonous. I am still bitter that he won out because of superior size.

That stinging defeat taught me a lesson. Always double the sauce for this dish. And stealing of sauce from the other’s serving is grounds for divorce.

You would think even with a doubling of the sauce that it would be a bit of an overkill. Hah! Just try this dish and then tell me that you have sauce leftover.

I’ve changed a few things from the original recipe, as I tend to do with most things. I made a kind of prawn stock from the wine beforehand to enhance the taste of the ocean. I used a mixture of white wine and sherry instead of just white wine because I like the additional sweetness the sherry imparts. I used more garlic than asked for because I fear vampires … nah, I just really like garlic.

I apologise beforehand for the stingy amount of photographs. I have a good reason. This dish is so fast and requires such swift and prompt action that trying to take photos in between would have compromised the quality and taste of this dish. As I’ve said before, I like you guys, but not that much.

Scallops & Prawns in Creamy Dill Sauce
10 big, fat glass prawns, peeled, deveined & shells reserved
- mine had lovely, crimson roe that oozed out lavishly, inspiring me to use these in the stock
7 plump scallops
1/3 cup white wine
¼ cup sherry
3 stalks of spring onions, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 huge tbsp of fresh dill, chopped
75g butter, chopped
3-4 tbsp thick cream

1. Put your white wine & sherry to boil, adding the prawns shells

2. Stir well and crush the heads of the prawns to get all the roe into the wine

3. When the shells are bright orange and the fragrance is driving you crazy, fish out all the shells with a slotted spoon, crushing out excess liquid back into the pan as you remove them

4. Add the prawns and scallops, lower the heat and simmer for about 1 minute till they are just cooked through

5. Remove the seafood with a slotted spoon and set aside

6. Add the spring onions, garlic cloves and dill to the wine and bring to the boil

7. Reduce heat to low, uncovered for about 2-3 minutes to reduce the sauce by half. Do not panic if the sauce now appears to be very little – it will all work out in the end.

8. Add pieces of chopped butter a few pieces at a time, whisking well till melted before adding the next piece. The sauce should look slightly thickened and glossy now

9. Stir in the cream and add the seafood

10. Heat through the seafood in the sauce

11. Serve this over hot, steamed rice

Normally (sic), the sauce would be a lovely golden shade. But because I used the lush red roe of the prawns in the stock, it became a violently orange sauce that gave the dish an illusion of spiciness. I rather fancy the eye would be deceived into thinking that the first bite would release a sharp tang of spice onto the taste buds only to be wonderfully surprised by a rich, sweet creaminess laving the tongue.

I love this dish and it is a perennial favourite. A luxurious indulgence. A gourmet comfort food. My biased and sated taste buds give it a 10/10 for sheer sybaritic pleasure. My body screams bloody murder and a demand to take a walk after this meal, throwing a limp 5/10 in defeat.

I still had a mass of salvaged dill which had to be used up tonight or sent to the graveyard of misused herbs. I decided to make a simple Middle Eastern dill rice which I can keep for many days to come. Oh no! More leftovers. I slough off for my walk in defeat.

Categories - Fish Tales


Blogger michelle said...

Hi MM - you sound like me! salvaging ingredients from near-demise in the recesses of whatever kitchen appliance/cupboard they may be hiding in and devising dishes to save a single one! This sounds incredible, and I love the idea of making the prawn stock before. This may even make its way onto our valentine's day table...but I'll be sure to double the sauce!

8:37 am  
Blogger michelle said...

PS. I just read your poem below...and wow...I'm speechless...


thank you for sharing.

8:40 am  
Blogger MM said...

Hey Michelle, thanks for visiting again! Yes, scallops & prawns in creamy dill sauce is a perfect V-day meal. There's something so sensual about the cream and sweer seafood that just makes it a fabulous meal for a couple to savour together. Have fun with it!

And thanks for your kind words about my poem. I typically do not share my poems with people as I am a little shy and I think they are a little naft. But I was just so ruminative after meeting the old lady I felt compelled to put it here.

Have a good weekend!

11:50 am  

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