Honestly, you do not need to get true French Perigord truffles but can settle for lesser quality Italian or even good Chinese knockoffs. In a pinch, and in my opinion, you could also use truffle oil instead since that is cheaper to use and more readily accessible.
- Scallops in their shell (“des coquilles Saint Jacques”)
- Fresh Fetuccini or Tagliatelle pasta (“des pâtes fraîches”)
- Truffle (“de la truffe”) or truffle oil (“de l’huile de truffe)
- Cream (“de la crème liquide”)
- Salt (“du sel”)
- Pepper (“du poivre”)
- 1 shallot (“une échalotte”)
I recommend you get live ones still in their shells if you can. They are relatively easy to clean (see a video of my technique) and will cost you a lot less than the ones outside of their shells. Plus you will need a key part of what is left over in the shell to make your sauce. You could make them with pre-opened scallops as long as they come with their corral.
Now scallops don’t always come with corral (the orange part) and it also depends on the season. If you don’t have corral, it won’t be as good but don’t worry, we can do without…
Once you opened the scallops and cleaned the muscle (or ‘nut’, “la noix” in French) of all the impurities, collect “la barbe” (mantle edges) which are the thin membranes with hair look alike (hence the French name: barbe or beard) on the front edge of the shell. Make sure there is no sand in them so give them a quick shake in some cold water. Chop in rough pieces and put aside.
Do the same with the corral (that red/orangy part sometimes attached to the nut). Try to remove the inside part from the skin as much as you can and put together with the beard in a mixer. Add a small shallot roughly chopped up in the mixer as well. Pulse a few times and then let the mixer run for a good minute to make sure to break the fibrous parts into a smooth pulp. Put aside.
Make sure the scallops muscles are clean (remove the any dark membrane still left and the hard piece from the side). Put them on some kitchen paper and make sure they are nice and dry (important for the cooking step).
Use a good quality pasta and preferably fresh ones. I’d recommend a fetuccini or at least linguine size but it’ll of course work with any pasta you might have on hand.
The pasta sauce
Put the beard and corral pulp in a small saucepan on low eat and mix in some cream. Bring to a low boil, add pepper to taste and check for salt (the pulp is naturally salty so adjust accordingly). Don’t boil and keep it hot until your pasta is cooked. Once the pasta is cooked, put the pasta in a pan and gently fold in the sauce (which will have a pinkish orange hue to it).
Cooking the scallops
While the pasta is cooking, heat up a non-stick pan to very high and let it heat up thoroughly. Once the pan is nice and really hot drop a little bit of butter in the pan and swerve it around to get butter everywhere and quickly add the scallops to the pan. Because the pan is very hot, it’ll take just 1 or 2 minutes to cook based on the size of your scallops. Wait 30s and turn a scallop over to check. When they have a nice coloration, flip them and turn off the pan. Wait for another 30s to a minute. Ideal cooking should have the scallop still raw in the center when they get off the pan since the heat will continue to cook them until they get in your plate. Of course, it’s a personal preference but please don’t overcook this wonderful product, it would be a shame.
On the plate, put some pasta and then (based on the size of the scallops & appetite of your guests), set 3 to 6 scallops next to the pasta. Shave very thin slices of truffle and put a slice on each scallop. Add some shavings of truffle on the pasta and finish up with a sprig of chive for decoration. Serve quickly.
I hope you find the necessary ingredients to make this at home, make sure to let me know how it turned out in the comments! Bon appétit !
Here is another of my scallop recipes : St Jacques with a foie gras sauce