Keep an eye out, Cape Winelands, there’s some serious fine-dining competition in the upper half of the countryside. And leading the challenge in the North West area of Hartbeespoort is Leon Nel of Silver Orange. Try his Scallops with Béarnaise Sauce.
- 12 scallops with roe in the shell (3 per person)
- ½ clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Béarnaise sauce
- 500g unsalted butter
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves or 1 tsp dried, crushed leaves
- 4 black peppercorns, crushed
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 5 large egg yolks
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- pinch of cayenne
- Mix garlic into olive oil and brush scallops, season with salt and pepper and place under hot grill for 2-3 minutes, taking care not to overcook scallops as they will go rubbery.
- For the Béarnaise, heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, just to melt. Boil onion, tarragon and peppercorns in vinegar and wine in a non-reactive medium-size saucepan over medium heat, until reduced to about ¼ cup. Leave to cool and strain into the glass bowl.
- Add egg yolks, whisk and place bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly. As soon as the yolk mixture begins to thicken slightly, remove the bowl and continue whisking until thick and pale. Take care not to cook the yolks. Remove and whisk in the melted butter, drizzling it in very slowly. With constant whisking, whisk in the salt and cayenne. When all the butter is incorporated, taste and add more salt or cayenne as needed. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Spoon some Béarnaise over scallops and place back under grill for less than minute or use blow torch to slightly brown the sauce.
- Serve with herb salad, lemon oil and fresh lemon.
Wine suggestion: Ghost Corner Bowline