Sunday, July 19, 2009

Adventures in taking things too literally: Scallops with "beurre noisette"

OK, I'm an idiot. (This is Paul writing, not Lauren.) For some reason, for a while now, I've been wanting to make scallops with a "beurre noisette" sauce. I didn't take French for 12 years like Lauren did, but I do know that beurre = butter and noisette = hazelnut. Simple, eh?

So I get some nice dry sea scallops, sear them, crush up some hazelnuts, toast them briefly in the hot be-scalloped pan, deglaze with vermouth and a little water, and mount a little butter in there. Beurre noisette, right?

Well, the result was tasty enough. I ended up cooking the scallops pretty well, and the vermouth added a nice flavor without being overpowering. Then it occurs to me to check Wikipedia about what I think I've just made.

Turns out that in language, there's such a thing as an "idiom". Apparently this means that you use words that mean one thing, but you really mean another. So beurre noisette = "brown butter". No actual hazelnuts in there at all.

In retrospect, I'd like to think that I was being playful, like Thomas Keller with his "donuts" and "bacon and eggs" and whatnot. If I'm being honest, I know that I'm really just a jackass. And on the eve of Bastille Day, nonetheless.

Heck, it tasted good anyway, and it used up a few tablespoons' or so worth of hazelnuts that may not have otherwise gone to good use. And I served it with a bangin' mint-spiked fava bean salad, which I enjoyed thoroughly even though Lauren didn't.


Bob said...

Hey that's not being an idiot, that's creating a new dish!

Kyle/thebookpolice said...

Found this thanks to @nandita on Twitter. Love your style. And for the record, it does sound tasty and you should definitely not tell any more people about how it was a mistake.