Chopped Challenge Thursday: Lemon Curd, Bacon, Sage and Escargot

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I am BEYOND excited to share with you all the results of my first “Chopped Challenge Thursday”!

In case  you missed the 1 Year Anniversary post explaining the concept, on Monday I made an announcement on my Facebook Page asking for the four “mystery” ingredients for my “Chopped Challenge Basket” this week.

Bacon, Escargot, Lemon Curd, Sage, Chopped Challenge, Basket, Week One, Ingredients, Food Network

The first four responses came from Cindi Bogue with Lemon Curd, Kyle Baker with Bacon, Brian Spracklen with Sage and Krista Lombardi with Escargot.

Lemon Curd, Bacon, Sage, I can make something happen with this… ESCARGOT, what the heck am I going to do with escargot? Thanks to Krista for throwing a curve ball at me on week one!  It wouldn’t be called a “challenge” if it were easy!

I knew I wanted to make the lemon curd and sage into a sauce. First thing I thought of was bacon wrapped scallops with a lemon sage reduction, but then Krista threw the escargot at me and my plans changed.  This change actually led to the development of an amazing lemon sage alfredo sauce. The only way I knew to cook escargot was with some garlic and wine so I thought, let’s go pasta here!

I wanted to use a large noodle to hold up the thickness of the alfredo and meatiness of the bacon wrapped scallops and escargot, so I chose Pappardelle, a broader, larger fettuccine egg noodle.

So the final result of “Chopped Challenge Thursday” Week One: Pappardelle tossed in Lemon Sage Alfredo topped with Seared Bacon Wrapped Scallops and White Wine Garlic Escargot

scallops, pappardelle, white wine, sage, parmesan, butter, lemon curd, bacon, escargot, cream, nutmeg, garlic


White Wine Garlic Escargot

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 7 0z can escargot

Lemon Sage Alfredo Sauce and Pasta

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp lemon curd
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage (chopped)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 8 oz package pappardelle

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 fresh large sea scallops
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter

We’re going to start with the escargot. I mean why not?  Who doesn’t just love themselves a little afternoon snail on top of their pasta. 😉

I will admit that prior to this meal I had never cooked, nor eaten escargot and that I was much more concerned about the actual eating part than the cooking part!

I opened them up and surprisingly they looked and smelled so much more appetizing than they sound…. NOT!  They are scary looking!

At this point, I feel like everything I’ve said above is going to come back and bite me in the butt some day when I end up on Food Network and they make fun of me for not being super excited to eat the delicacy that is escargot!

Any who, I drained the little buggers using my strainer and then placed them in a bowl full of cold water to rid them of the canned taste (because that’s really going to help the cause here!)

soak, escargot, can, water, bowl

Yes, that is a hot pink plastic Wal-Mart bowl from college.  I feel like everything looks less scary in hot pink! I mean really, would you be scared of someone breaking into your house in a hot pink jumpsuit?  I think not!

As the snails squirmed over on the side I began their sauce bath by melting the butter in a large skillet, then adding the garlic.

Sauté the garlic for 2 minutes, then add the white wine, salt and pepper.

white wine, sauce, garlic, butter, escargot

Allow the sauce to come to a light boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Next add the escargot.

escargot, white wine, cook, garlic, butter

Now, what do you do with the rest of the bottle of wine you ask?  Drink it while these guys are cooking so that you have the courage to eat them when they’re ready (at least that’s what I did!)

Alright, one chopped basket ingredient down, three to go. Lets make some sauce!

Start out the lemon sage alfredo by pouring the cream and lemon juice into a saucepan over medium heat, cook for 2-3 minutes.

Next, add the butter and allow to melt.

butter, cream, lemon, alfredo, sauce

Once the butter has melted add in the lemon zest, nutmeg and lemon curd.

lemon curd, alfredo, sauce, cream, butter, sea salt, pepper, sage

Lemon curd is VERY sweet, the first ingredient in lemon curd (also known as the dominate ingredient) is, none other than our friend sugar. I counterbalanced the sweetness with the sage and sea salt.

Next, add the sage, salt and pepper.

Sage, Alfredo, Butter, Cream, Parmesan, Lemon, Sauce, Savory, Pepper

The sage was actually an amazing addition to the sauce. The savory, peppery flavor complimented the cheesy rich alfredo and balanced the sweetness of the lemon.  Thanks Brian 🙂

Finally, add the parmesan cheese. Stir to combine well and make sure no chunks of cheese exist.

lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon curd, sage, alfredo, parmesan, cream, nutmeg, butter

Simmer on a burner for 15-20 minutes while the sauce thickens.  In the mean time, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pappardelle 10-12 minutes.

At this point, the escargot is simmering, sauce is thickening, pasta is boiling and I’m drinking the rest of the wine, oh wait, no I’m making bacon wrapped scallops!

Start by placing the bacon in a 375° oven for 5-10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the bacon and how crispy you would like it). I learned this trick somewhere, sometime, that I don’t recall, probably Food Network, but you place the bacon on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet, that way the grease drips off the bacon instead of swimming around in it!

bacon, how to, cook, oven, grease

You want to cook the bacon slightly prior to wrapping it around the scallops because scallops cook much quicker than bacon and if you don’t pre-cook the bacon, you will end up with one of two things:

  1. Overcooked scallops… $17.99/lb people, just saying, overcooking something that expensive and delicious should be a crime!
  2. Undercooked bacon… no one likes soggy bacon, let’s be real!

So while the bacon is in the oven, lightly salt and pepper the scallops on each side.

Next, remove the bacon from the oven and wrap one slice around each scallop, securing with a toothpick.

Next, add the butter to a warm cast iron skillet and watch it melt. (OK, you don’t have to actually watch it melt, but it’s quick and exciting so why not!) As soon as it is melted spin that skillet around to allow the melted butter to cover the bottom. Add the scallops to the pan.

Cook for 5-7 minutes then use tongs to flip.

Bacon, Scallops, Chopped, Challenge, Food Network, Escargot, White Wine, Pappardelle, Lemon, Sage, Alfredo

Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. The scallops should be a nice white color with a light brown caramelization on top.

Chopped Basket Ingredients have been used, stove burners are full, kitchen smells amazing, I think it’s time to plate this baby up!

Are you ready?  Ready for what you ask?  To be bombarded with pictures!

This recipe was so fun to create, from the incoming Facebook comments with ingredients, to the recipe coming together in my mind, to the ingredients coming together in the kitchen, I am proud of this dish and took enough pictures to show it! 😉

I want to grab the scallop right off my computer screen and eat it!

For some reason I feel the need to write something between each picture, so we’ll just say YUM!

Buttery, creamy, mouth-watering amazingness!

Now about that escargot…

Yeah, that’s them, sitting over there by their lonesome, tossed to the side, haunting me with their presence on my plate.

I have to eat them, right?  I mean I did spend $12 on a tiny can of them.  I have to try.. at least one… maybe half one.  Maybe if I wrap it in a noodle, top it with bacon and smother it with sauce I can bare it!

Bacon, Scallops, Chopped, Challenge, Food Network, Escargot, White Wine, Pappardelle, Lemon, Sage, Alfredo

Yes, that was the first bite I was able to muster up the confidence to eat. A tiny little sliver of escargot, covered in my porky BFF, bacon.

It wasn’t that bad, the taste was salty and the texture reminded me of a portobello mushroom.

Although I will probably not put escargot on my weekly shopping list, it was a fun experience and I’m glad I can say I’ve both cooked and eaten the french delicacy!

Over all this dish was delicious.  I would eat the sauce, pasta and scallop combination pretty much every day!

If you’re feeling super adventurous in the kitchen, prepare this dish as is.  If you’re feeling a little less likely to want snails on your dinner, discard the escargot and enjoy the amazingness of the bacon wrapped scallops!

If you’re on a budget (or vegetarian), escargot and scallops may be a little out of your price range but never fear, the sauce in and of itself is so delicious it could be a meal on its own with the pappardelle!