|Cream of Scallop Soup
¾ lb. sea scallops, tough ligament removed from side of each if attached
1 cup white fish stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 small shallot, chopped
1 thyme sprig
¾ cup crème fraîche
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. finely chopped chives
Rinse the scallops, and then pat them dry. Quarter them, and season them with 1/8 tsp. salt.
In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the stock, wine, shallot, thyme, and ½ tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, and boil for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on the solids before discarding them. Return the liquid to the saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then stir in the scallops and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the scallops are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. (Do not overcook. If anything, leave them rare; they will continue to cook after you remove them from the heat.) Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon, and keep them warm, covered. Reserve the cooking liquid in the saucepan.
Meanwhile, put the crème fraîche in a small saucepan, and bring it to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat. Simmer until it reduces slightly, about 3 minutes. Add it to the cooking liquid in the medium saucepan, stir well, and simmer together for another 3 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, ¼ cup of the crème fraîche-cooking liquid mixture, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Add half of the remaining crème fraîche mixture to the yolk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Then pour it all back into the medium saucepan, whisking. Cook over very low heat, whisking, until just slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Do not boil. Remove from the heat, taste for seasoning, and salt as needed.
Divide the scallops among 4 small soup bowls, and then ladle the soup on top. Sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings - Adapted from Gourmet and The Nouvelle Cuisine of Jean & Pierre Troisgros