Scallops with Potato Pancakes and Caviar Sauce

Vinny Dotolo found inspiration for this elegant dish by thinking about New Year's Eve classics. Both Champagne and caviar flavor the butter sauce that he spoons over seared scallops set on mini potato pancakes.

Recipe from Food & Wine
Scallops with Potato Pancakes and Caviar Sauce
John Kernick
YIELD
10 first-course servings
PREP TIME
20 mins
TOTAL TIME
1 hr 20 mins
Ingredients
    Pancakes:
    • 1   pound baking potatoes, peeled
    • 1   large egg, lightly beaten
    • 1/4  cup matzo meal
    • 1/4  cup grated onion
    •  Salt
    •  Vegetable oil, for frying
    Scallops and Caviar Sauce:
    • 1 1/2  cups Champagne
    • 9   black peppercorns
    • 3   thyme sprigs
    • 1   bay leaf
    • 1   large shallot, thinly sliced
    • 1   teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 1/2  tablespoons creme fraiche
    • 1 1/2  sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
    • 1   ounce caviar
    •  Salt
    •  Vegetable oil, for frying
    • 20   medium sea scallops (1 pound)
    • 2   tablespoons minced chives
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    Directions
    1. 
    Coarsely shred the potatoes and squeeze out any excess liquid. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the egg, matzo meal, onion and a large pinch of salt. Shape the mixture into 20 scallop-size cakes, about 1/2 inch thick; press the cakes to compress them.
    2. 
    In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Working in batches, fry the pancakes over moderately high heat until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Lower the heat if the pancakes brown too quickly and add more oil if necessary. Transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
    3. 
    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine the Champagne with the peppercorns, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, shallot and lemon juice and boil over high heat until reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 15 minutes. Strain the sauce into another small saucepan. Stir in the creme fraiche and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir in the caviar and season lightly with salt. Cover the sauce and keep it warm.
    4. 
    Wipe out the skillet and heat 1/4 inch of oil in it until shimmering. Season the scallops with salt and add half of them to the skillet. Cook over high heat until richly browned, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm while you cook the remaining scallops.
    5. 
    Rewarm the potato pancakes in the oven. Arrange the pancakes on a platter and set a scallop on each one. Add the chives to the caviar butter sauce and spoon over the scallops. Serve right away.
    MAKE AHEAD:
    1. 
    The pancakes and caviar sauce can stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Rewarm the caviar sauce over low heat, stirring constantly.
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