The concept behind this dish was to be a bit historical showing a noble ingredient of the sea, but also to celebrate the Auld Alliance, as I’m using an old recipe. It includes a Sauce Ecossaise, which is a béchamel with boiled eggs added. The sauce is usually served on fish, either smoked or plain, or on poached poultry. On this occasion, I’m serving it on a bed of salted cod with a double-dived scallop from the Isle of Skye. All the quantities are approximate, so feel free to add more or less depending on your own tastes and preferences.
Scallops and Salted Cod Sauce Ecossaise by Fred Berkmiller, Chef Proprietor of l’escargot bleu and l’escargot blanc & Bar à Vin, Edinburgh
l'Art du Vin Recommends:
Philippe, our Managing Director, recommends this organic Saint Veran from Burgundy for Fred's scallop dish:
Being from Lyon, which is only a short drive away from the Maconnais (the most Southern part of Burgundy), I am obviously biased, but I have worked with this particular estate for over fifteen years and the consistency of their quality throughout the years has always impressed me.
This delicious St Veran made with unoaked Chardonnay is produced according to certified organic principles. It's complex and round with delicious peachy and apple characters, which will accompany the sweet meat of the scallops very well; its refreshing acidity will cut through the rich salted cod Sauce Ecossaise perfectly.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
4 fresh scallops, bought on the shell and prepared by your fishmonger (remember to keep the trimmings)
2tbsp parsley, finely chopped
4 scallop trimmings
1 shallot, finely diced
1 small white leek, finely sliced
1 knob of butter
a splash of olive oil
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, finely sliced
1 glass of white wine
1 garlic clove, crushed
200g fresh cod fillet
2 pinches of coarse sea salt
1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 eggs, hard boiled
4tbsp plain flour
Salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper and nutmeg (for seasoning)
1 large glass of milk
(The day before) Sprinkle the coarse sea salt, thyme and crushed garlic over the fresh cod. Cover with cling film and keep refrigerated for 12 hours.
In a pan, gently heat the shallots in a little olive oil and butter for two minutes. Add the carrots, leeks and garlic and heat for a further three to four minutes. Add the scallop trimmings, white wine, bay leaf and thyme and bring to the boil for five minutes. Strain everything in the pan and keep the stock until needed for the sauce Ecossaise; discard everything else. You should have roughly one large glass of stock.
Separate the boiled egg yolks from the egg whites. Put the yolks to one side and slice the whites very finely and put to one side.
To make the sauce Ecossaise, melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat. Using a sieve gradually add the flour. Whisk for two minutes then pour in your milk and whisk until it starts to boil. Slowly pour the prepared cold scallop stock into the saucepan, whilst continuously whisking, and simmer for another five minutes or until you have a good consistency. Season with cayenne pepper, nutmeg, white pepper and a little bit of salt, but be careful not to add too much salt. Taste and season again, if necessary.
Rinse the cod and pat dry with kitchen towel. Place the fillet on a buttered tray and cover with tin foil. Cook in the oven at 180°C for seven minutes.
When the cod is cooked, leave it to cool and flake it into your sauce. Add the egg yolks and give it a firm stir using a wooden spatula. Finally add in the julienne of egg whites, taste and season. The sauce should have a good consistency and be full of flavour! Season and taste until you’re happy.
Cook your scallops in a hot frying pan with olive oil and butter. Sear them well on each side; this should take around two minutes per side. Be careful not to overcook them and try to keep them raw, but warm in the centre.
To serve, fill the empty shells with your warm sauce ecossaise, sprinkle with some finely chopped parsley and place the cooked scallops on top.
Try and use different scallops to what you’re used to. I usually buy double-dived scallops from Isle of Skye – they’re extremely meaty. I also buy hand dived scallops from Guy Grieve on the Isle of Mull; also, fantastic produce. Make sure you buy scallops that are still in their shell. Be adventurous and open the scallops yourself. Ask the kids to help as they will love it!
Keep the roe and cook at the same time with your scallops, cook them lightly and quicker than the scallop meat.
Chef Profile – Fred Berkmiller
Chef-patron of l’escargot bleu and l’escargot blanc and Bar à Vin in Edinburgh, Fred Berkmiller started his hospitality apprenticeship in his hometown of Tours in the Loire Valley.
Settling in Scotland in 1995, Fred then went on to open his first restaurant in the Grassmarket in 1998, then in 2004 setting up in the West End with what is now l’escargot blanc. Next came a project to renovate an old clockmaker’s shop with his wife Betty in 2009 on 56 Broughton Street, which became l’escargot bleu. Most recently, in 2015, Fred and his team renovated the area beneath l’escargot blanc to create l’escargot blanc Bar à Vin; a place to indulge in platters of charcuterie and cheese and a wealth of wine, which has been carefully sourced, tasted and selected from many regions in France.
Provenance, sourcing and sustainability have always defined Fred’s cooking since he started his journey as a chef. Every day he works with small-scale, local businesses, traditional producers and suppliers, and he’s travelled from Dumfriesshire to Barra and Shetland to meet the people who catch, raise, grow and harvest the produce he cooks with.
Fred’s purchasing habits for Scottish ingredients are sustainable, economical and environmentally friendly. Instead of buying a prime steak cut, he buys the whole animal and ensures every part of it is used and nothing goes to waste. This lowers the cost price, as well as supporting the Scottish economy and reducing food miles. Purchasing whole animal carcasses also helps Fred to teach his chefs about his nose-to-tail ethos, how to butcher an animal correctly and how to avoid any waste.
Outside of the l’escargot kitchens, Fred’s passion for the food and drink industry never falters. At every opportunity, he works with renowned chefs and food and drink organisations to promote and defend Scotland’s natural larder. He is also partner of the Budding Chefs’ series initiated by the Institut Français d’Ecosse, which develops the gastronomic connections between Scottish and French chefs and showcases the best of both larders. It’s a two-way project, which offers young chefs the chance to experience the opposite larder as well as learning new techniques and traditions with visits to producers and cooking workshops.
Fred was awarded the accolade of Food Pioneer at the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards 2016 and is also an Ambassador Chef for Scotland Food and Drink; in 2014, he was awarded the ‘Special Award’ at The List’s annual Eating and Drinking Guide Awards 2014 in recognition of his commitment and contribution to Scottish food culture as well as his exceptional success with the Budding Chefs' initiative.