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Scallops in Saffron Sauce

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Serves: 8
150ml / 5 fl oz dry white wine
150ml / 5 fl oz fish stock
large pinch of saffron threads
900g / 2 lb shucked scallops, preferably large ones, with corals
salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150ml / 5 fl oz double cream
squeeze of lemon juice
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
crusty bread, to serve

Put the wine, fish stock and saffron in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove and discard from each scallop the tough, white muscle that is found opposite the coral, and separate the coral from the scallop. Slice the scallops and corals vertically into thick slices. Dry well on kitchen paper, then season with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened and lightly browned. Add the sliced scallops to the pan and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they turn just opaque. Overcooking the scallops will make them tough and rubbery.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the scallops from the frying pan and transfer to a warmed plate. Add the saffron liquid to the pan, bring to the boil and boil rapidly until reduced by about half. Lower the heat and gradually stir in the cream, just a little at a time. Simmer gently until the sauce thickens.

Return the scallops to the pan and simmer for 1-2 minutes just to heat through. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve the scallops hot, garnished with the parsley, with slices or chunks of crusty bread.

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