It is our custom on New Year’s Eve to picnic in bed, watching on television Babette’s Feast and Dinner for One, and enjoying some of our favourite food and wine. The menu varies a bit, but usually starts with avocado pear with a salmon egg filling, scallops, and shepherds pie – the last two being served in individual pots from the oven, with the scallops coming out first.
The scallop dish is really the traditional one of the shellfish cooked in a white sauce in its shell. But in individual pots with the scallops already cut up, it is easy to make and eat, and just as nice – if not so pretty.
SCALLOPS IN WHITE SAUCE
You will need:
One or two scallops per person – depending on their size, the size of the pot, and appetites.
White sauce made with butter, flour, ½ chicken stock cube, a little grated Cheddar cheese, a little
mustard, milk, pepper and salt.
Make a white sauce in a saucepan, using a good lump of butter (melt it), twice its volume of plain flour (stir), adding the above ingredients, then pouring in about ½ pint of cold milk and whisking the lot as it heats through. Add more milk as necessary to get the consistency required.
Slice the scallops with their coral and place in the pots. Cover with the sauce. Sprinkle a little paprika over the tops if you feel that they need decoration.
The pots of scallops may be fashioned well beforehand, even frozen, as can the shepherd’s pies if you choose to serve them after the scallops.
As soon as the scallop sauce bubbles in the pots, they are ready – and they are delicious. (And by the time you have enjoyed them at your leisure, the shepherd’s pies will be ready.) For us it is always a very Happy New Year.