Scallops with basil and cream:
6 tablespoons butter
12 sea scallops
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 teaspoon slivered garlic
Pinch crushed red chili flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
20 basil leaves, cut in thin ribbons.
1. Put 4 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-high heat. When foam subsides, add scallops; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown on both sides, adjusting heat so they brown nicely; they need not cook through. Remove them to a plate.
2. Turn off heat, cool pan a bit and wipe out. Add remaining butter over medium heat. When it melts, add shallots, garlic, chili flakes and a little more salt and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes, or until shallots soften.
3. Add wine, raise heat a bit, and let bubble away for a minute or so until reduced by about half; add cream and repeat. When liquid is thick, return scallops and juices to pan.
4. Cook for about a minute, stirring in half the basil, until scallops are just firm. Taste and adjust seasoning, transfer to small bowls or plates with a bit of sauce, garnish with remaining basil, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings.