I was in Barnes and Noble bookstore last week and in the cooking section (yes, I know – shock!) when I was about to leave I spied an end unit displaying Julia Child’s cookbook: Baking With Julia: Savor The Joys of Baking with America’s Best Bakers. I paused to take note and began casually flipping through the book when I saw one recipe stand out so I went back to investigate. The scallop and pesto purses looked so cute I had to ‘google’ the recipe when I got home. My Mom loved to watch Julia Child, Graham Kerr, Jacques Pepin and I think it was a toss up between The French Chef and The Galloping Gourmet as to which one she preferred the most. I spoke to Mom today and she remembers watching one episode where Julia was using the same mixer as Mom for a cake she was about to make. When she turned the unit on flour billowed out and made a bit of a mess to which Julia just laughed. Mom, watching the show, said “that’s happened to me, too!” My Dad purchased a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for Mom in the early 1970’s and it’s still working! I watched Julia and Graham on their respective cooking shows but to be honest was never glued to the television set to watch them every week – I was a teenager and had other interests.
I had no idea this week was a big week for all Julia Child fans. Something in the culinary cosmos pointed me to the end unit where Julia’s book was inspiring me to search the recipe on the web and to discover that if Julia Child was still alive today she would be 100 years old on the 15th! So without further ado, here’s the recipe adapted from Julia Child. Celebrate Julia by cooking up your favorite dish from now until the 15th August.
12 dry scallops (preferably U-10 size)
8 sheets of phyllo pastry
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 375f (190c). Carefully remove pastry from package (thawed in fridge). Place one sheet on a wooden surface and lightly brush with melted butter. Make sure remaining phyllo sheets are covered with a slightly dampened tea towel (this prevents the pastry from drying out). Sprinkle some of the Parmesan cheese over the sheet. Take out another phyllo sheet and place on top of the first one. Repeat procedure until 4 sheets have been used. Repeat this method again for the other 4 sheets of pastry.
Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the pastry lengthwise in half and crosswise in thirds. Place a scallop in the middle and place a small teaspoon of pesto on top. Gently pick up 2 opposite corners so that they meet in the middle of the scallop. Do the same with the other 2 corners and arrange such that the points of the corners face up like a change purse. You might need to brush a bit more melted butter on top. Place bundles on a backing sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until golden.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: YUM! And, Happy Birthday Julia!