For us, spring means putting away the dark sauces and focusing on light and green ingredients. We were inspired by the French blanquette, a creamy white sauce stew made with veal. The veal was replaced with plump sea scallops, and the dish was brightened with verdant, seasonal asparagus. A blanquette is traditionally thickened with egg yolks and contains pearl onions and button mushrooms. We’ve left out the mushrooms and replaced them with new potatoes, which help thicken a sauce made without egg yolks. As a result, you’ll have a dish that’s elegant enough for company but simple enough to prepare on a weeknight.
Serves 3 to 4
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 pound sea scallops, patted dry
⅓ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
4 medium new potatoes, peeled and cut in eighths
Salt and white pepper
6 stalks asparagus, slant-cut
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced dill
Melt butter over medium heat in a 12-inch sauté pan or skillet that has a In a 12-inch sauté pan or skillet with a lid, melt butter over medium heat. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the scallops. Cook for about a minute, or until they are lightly browned, then flip them with tongs to color the other side. They’re going to be undercooked. Cover loosely with foil and transfer to a bowl.
Reduce the heat to low, add the onions, and cook for a few minutes, until soft but not brown. Stir in the wine and 3/4 cup of the stock, scraping the bottom of the pan. Season potatoes with salt and pepper, cover, and cook 10 to 12 minutes on medium-low, or until just tender when pierced with a paring knife.
In a pan, combine all of the ingredients and stir well. Add the asparagus and the rest of the stock. Cook for 3 minutes, uncovered, until asparagus is just tender. If the liquid in the pan is reducing too quickly — it should have the consistency of a sauce — add a little more stock. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens to a creamy consistency.
Return the scallops to the pan, along with any juices they release, and cook for another 2 minutes, basting the scallops and potatoes with the sauce. Lemon juice should be added at this point. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve by transferring the blanquette to a serving dish and sprinkling it with dill.