Serves 4 to 6
12 large sea scallops
Potato Cakes (recipe below)
2 medium russet or baking potatoes, peeled
1 small onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Extra-virgin olive oil, or vegetable oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Coarsely grate the potatoes and onion in a food processor or box grater. Transfer the mixture to a clean kitchen towel and squeeze as dry as possible. Transfer to a bowl and mix with the egg, flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick fry or sauté pan over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add a tablespoon of the potato to the pan (or a bit more if you want larger pancakes) and flatten with a spoon. Depending on the size of your pan, add several more pancakes to the pan and cook until they are golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn the pancakes over and cook until the second side is golden, about 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. If the potato cakes are prepared in advance, transfer to a baking sheet and warm in a 350ºF oven for 1 to 2 minutes before serving.
This is a very basic recipe for potato pancakes or latkes, but if you have a favorite you can certainly substitute it here.
Caviar Butter Sauce
3/4 lb unsalted butter, chilled
2 shallots, finely diced
1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fish stock
8 to 10 teaspoons black caviar of your choice
Heat a tablespoon of the butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for several minutes until they become translucent and soft. Do not let them brown. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated. Add the wine and fish stock and reduce to about 3 tablespoons. Cut the remaining butter (still chilled) into pieces and add it, one piece at a time, into the pan. Stir or whisk the butter into the liquid until each piece is emulsified before adding the next piece. Continue stirring constantly until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and stir in 6 teaspoons of caviar. Keep warm.
Prepare the scallops according to the master recipe for pan-seared scallops.
To serve, placed the cooked scallop on a potato cake and spoon the sauce around or over the scallop. Garnish with the remaining caviar. Serve with a light salad such as Mâche with lemon juice and oil.