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Appetizers

Scallops in saffron sauce

Scallops in saffron sauce
Eric Boyd / Los Angeles Times

Imagine silky French sauces tinted with saffron and turmeric, speckled with dark mustard seeds, headily flavored with curry leaves and sometimes enriched with coconut milk instead of cream. Add delicate seared scallops, or fresh shrimp and julienned mango -- and ... Read more

Total time: 30 minutes | Serves 4
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon oil, divided
  • 14 curry leaves, divided
  • 8 jumbo scallops, rinsed and patted dry
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • Dash white pepper
  • Dash saffron strands
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Step 1To make fried curry leaves for garnish, add 8 curry leaves to 1 cup oil in a small saucepan over low heat. As the oil heats, the leaves will crinkle slightly and become crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels. Reserve the leaves.

Step 2Season the scallops with salt and one-half teaspoon curry powder and set aside.

Step 3Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the garlic and sweat over low heat until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining curry leaves, remaining 1 teaspoon curry powder, pepper and saffron. Stir for 1 minute, then add the cream and continue to stir gently until the mixture begins to thicken. Add salt to taste.

Step 4Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a thick-bottomed heavy skillet . Add the scallops and sear for 30 seconds on each side, or longer according to taste. Place them on the sauce on serving plates and serve hot, garnished with fried curry leaves.

Note: From "La Porte des Indes Cookbook." Curry leaves are available at Indian markets.

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