Recipe courtesy Brandon Chavannes, executive chef at The Betty, Atlanta
Chef Chavannes worked at some of Atlanta’s most loved restaurants before opening The Betty in early 2021. The self-described “supper club” in Atlanta’s Buckhead district blends old-school glamour with New American cuisine that’s both familiar and innovative.
Heat oven to 450°F. Cut large fennel vertically into 8 wedges, and small bulbs into quarters. Toss fennel and lemons in a large bowl with sugar, salt and enough olive oil to coat. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for about 25 minutes, until fennel is golden brown and edges start to caramelize. Turn oven off but leave pan in oven to keep fennel warm.
While fennel cooks, pat scallops dry and, if present, remove the small hard muscle on the side of the scallops. Season with salt. Heat a large (at least 10” diameter) cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and coat with olive oil. When oil is hot and shimmering, add scallops in a single layer.
Cook scallops, without moving, until they develop a deep golden crust, about 2–3 minutes (check one after 2 minutes). As they cook, add butter and pine nuts to the pan, and spoon butter frequently over the scallops. The butter should turn very lightly brown, but neither the butter nor pine nuts should burn. If it seems too hot, remove pan from heat for a moment.
Place fennel and lemons on a platter or individual plates, and top with scallops. Spoon butter and pine nuts over scallops and garnish with reserved fennel fronds. Squeeze lemon over scallops before eating. Serves 4.
“White Burgundy is a home-run pairing with this dish, because while you have a richer sauce, the scallops need to be handled more delicately,” says Joe Billesbach, The Betty’s sommelier. “Normally with a dish like this, I’d go with something from one of the Montrachet villages, but thinking about the combination of rich brown butter, roasted fennel and pine nuts, this Meursault immediately came to mind.
Benjamin Leroux creates wines that combine the expected richness of the village with the energy and tactile electricity that make them stand out. This bottling has all the nuttiness and intensity of fruit of a classic Meursault, but the pronounced minerality and bright acidity give it a strong sense of elegance with all that power, like a phenomenal outside linebacker.”