This was a dish I made once, long ago, to teach myself how to properly sear a scallop. I thought the creaminess of the scallop would be excellent over a bed of creamy leeks. The result was so good, it became regular party fare - perfect piled in an Asian soup spoon and served with a glass of champagne. —Erin McDowell
8-10 as an appetizer
large leeks, washed well, thinly sliced
kosher salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
To make the creamy leeks, heat the butter in a large saute pan. Add the leeks and cook, over low heat, until very tender - 8-10 minutes.
Season the leeks with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a moment until the cream thickens and becomes a homogenous part of the mixture, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the creme fraiche. Keep warm.
Season the scallops with salt and pepper on both sides. In another large saute pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat. When the pan/fat is hot, add the scallops (presentation side down). Cook, undisturbed, until the scallop is golden around the edges, about 2 minutes. Turn the scallop and cook on the other side just until the scallop is cooked through, 1-2 minutes more (depending on the size of the scallop). Serve immediately over a bed of creamy leeks.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.