The McCarleys shared with us a meal that featured Seared Scallops and Fennel Broth. It was delicious. The scallops were “diver” scallops and were extra tender. Scallops are both fished and ‘farmed’. The bay scallop is much smaller than the sea scallop, less than an inch in diameter. The sea scallop can be as large as two inches in diameter. There are ‘faux scallops’ made of shark. These tend to have a ‘grain’ in the meat and usually much cheaper than real scallops.
The scallop shell is the symbol of the apostle James (‘coquilles St. Jacques’ means ‘shells of St. James’). Botticelli’s painting, the Birth of Venus shows the goddess apparently emerging from a scallop shell. Messina Hof’s Romance features Venus in the shell, but due to the Federal Regulations we had to ‘dress’ her.
The Scallops were sautéed in butter and then served in a delicate broth of fennel and Sauvignon Blanc. Scallops are very delicate and have very little flavor. The wine you choose needs to reflect that delicate flavor as not to overwhelm the scallops. The strongest flavor is usually the sauce or broth on the scallops so we pair the wines to the strongest flavor. With the fennel Sauvignon Blanc broth complemented the scallops and created a perfect bridge to a lovely Sauvignon Blanc wine.