Fresh, sweet English peas combined with butter make this sauce both rich and bright. It’s a perfect compliment to the pasta and grilled scallops in this very simple, but elegant first course.
- 1½ cup shelled fresh, small english peas
- salt, as needed
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoon mint leaves, minced
- ½ pound fettuccine
- 12 sea scallops, tough muscles removed
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
Prepare an ice bath.
Put the peas into a medium sauce pan and cover with cool water. Add about 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Cook until tender but still bright green, about 6 minutes. Drain the peas and plunge them into the ice bath to stop cooking. Strain. Puree the peas using a food mill or food processor, you may need to add a teaspoon or water or so. You want a consistency that is neither pasty nor watery. Set aside.
Combine the shallots and wine in a medium non-reactive sauce pan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Lower the heat and gradually whisk in 1‑cup of the butter, one or two pieces at a time. When the butter has been incorporated, remove the sauce from the heat. Strain the butter sauce and discard the solids. Return the sauce to the saucepan. Scrape the pea puree into the saucepan with the butter sauce and add half of the minced mint, stirring until fully incorporated. Cover and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook according to package instructions until al dente.
While the pasta cooks grill the scallops. Heat the grill or grill pan to medium-high. Toss the scallops with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl until they are well coated. Season with salt and pepper.
Lay the scallops on the grates of the grill or grill pan. They should sizzle. Do not crowd the scallops, work in batches if necessary.
Grill them on one side until the scallops develop golden brown grill marks, about 1 to 2 minutes. Then turn them once and continue cooking another minute or so longer. They just be barely cooked through and rare. Remove from grill and allow them to rest while you finish the pasta.
Drain the pasta and quickly move it to a large bowl. Allow a small amount of the cooking water to come along. Add the minced thyme, remaining mint and remaining butter. Toss well.
To serve gently warm the peas sauce over low heat and then spoon a small amount of onto 6 warmed plates or shallow bowls. Swirl some of the pasta into a compact shape and place it next to the sauce. Top with 2 scallops per plate and serve.