The leeks can be ‘fancied up’ by sautéing them with finely diced preserved lemon then folding in chopped, smoked duck, sizzled chorizo, or even crab.
4 medium-sized leeks
6 Tbs. butter, divided
1 tsp. salt, divided
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 Tbs. honey
1/3 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
20 to 24 sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry
2 Tbs. canola or sunflower oil
Trim long, green tops from leeks and cut off roots. Remove tough outer leaves. Cut each leek in half, then thinly slice the white and tender green parts. Transfer sliced leeks to a large bowl of cold water and stir around with your hand to remove dirt and grit. Drain in a colander, and set aside.
Melt 2 Tbs. butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted and begins to foam, add leeks and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. of salt. Reduce heat to medium low and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until leeks are soft but not browned.
Increase heat to medium and add white wine. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or until most of the wine has evaporated. Stir in honey and cook 1 minute more, or until honey has melted. Add crème fraiche, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cover to keep warm.
In a separate skillet, heat remaining butter and canola oil over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. Set scallops in pan and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned. Flip with a fork or a small spatula and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, or until second side is browned.
Spoon about 2/3 cup leek mixture in the center of each plate. Arrange scallops on top and serve. Serves 4