In Alain Ducasse’s monumental new cookbook Grand livre de cusine, this soup appears as Cresson de fontaine, but he also calls it a velouté. He’s not referring to velouté as the soup classically thickened with flour and butter and cooked for hours to obtain a velvet texture, but to the texture itself—slightly thick and certainly velvety.
As for the osetra caviar, it comes from a sturgeon not as large as the beluga; its prices are not as enormous, either. Osetra is famous for its value and for its nutty taste—a perfect match for the brown butter used in the watercress puree.
Boil the chicken stock in a medium saucepan until reduced by half to
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, boil the spinach and watercress in
Slice each scallop into 3 thin rounds. Mix the lemon juice and olive oil together and dip the scallop rounds in this mixture before putting them on a nonreactive metal or glass tray. Spoon ¾ of the caviar onto 12 of the rounds, dividing it evenly; place the other scallop rounds on top. Distribute the remainder of the caviar equally on top of the
Return the reduced stock to a boil and whisk in the brown butter. Add the watercress puree, season with salt, and grind in quite a lot of pepper. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor until well emulsified.
Place 3 scallop sandwiches in a triangle on each of 4 warm plates. Heat the watercress puree and pour it around the scallops. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream into the center around, but not on top of, the scallops and sprinkle the cream with very coarse freshly ground black pepper.
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