I have a very special treat in store for you guys today! A food blogger that I highly admire for his unique recipes and beautifully elaborate food styling is here to share a scallop dish with us. I'm over the moon for scallops and so DB generously offered up this amazing dish to share here on Simply Healthy Family while our family is in the process of moving homes. In general I share fairly simple, straight forward recipes here that are family friendly but my love for exceptional cuisine is still on the front burner of my heart. I think you'll agree that DB's Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Carrot Purée, Sautéed Ham and Mushrooms is 5 Star worthy.
Please welcome DB from Crazy Foodie Stunts!
Hello Simply Healthy Family readers! I'm DB but I also go by Foodie Stuntman. I am the home cook,
founder and author of Crazy Foodie Stunts where I attempt to prepare restaurant caliber dishes at home. It is for this reason that I found myself in a quandary after I volunteered to prepare a guest post for Gwen since our two blogs' points-of-view seem to be somewhat at odds with each other. See, I can prepare healthy dishes and I definitely get family but I generally don't do simple. My dishes can be laborious and are most often heavily technique-driven, however I think I found a compromise with this dish.
Before I even discuss the dish in particular, I need to point out that in the past, I discovered the part of
cooking I find most enjoyable occurs before I even step into the kitchen: dish composition. In other
words, what ingredients pair well with the main flavor in the dish? Think of things that are common such as chocolate and mint, steak and potatoes or peaches and cream. I like to explore unique flavor
combinations and to do that, I highly recommend:
The Flavor Bible:
The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative
Chefs by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg with Photography by Barry Salzman and the 2014
follow-up, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity with
Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, and More, Based on the Wisdom of Leading American
Chefs by Karen Page with Photography by Andrew Dornenburg.
They are reference guides that list hundreds of foods and their complementary ingredients. In many cases, it notes the most common ways to prepare that ingredient (such as sauté, broil, steam, grill, bake, etc.), when the item in in season in North America, the general flavor (i.e. sweet, bitter, etc.) and other characteristics such as volume (or how strong the flavor is), and even hints, such as adding tarragon at the end of the cooking process.
On a recent trip to Whole Foods, they happened to have a sale that day only on frozen seafood so I
picked up some sea scallops, unsure at the time how I'd use them, however the opportunity presented
itself when Gwen sent out her request. There are a number of scallops dishes I've prepared for my own website and I've found that a certain technique in searing them works well, namely searing them on just one side, letting the process of carryover cooking occur. Basically, carryover cooking occurs when you remove food from the heat source. You'll notice that many recipes will instruct to let proteins rest once you've removed them from the pan or oven. This allows the juices to redistribute because fluids in food get pushed to the center when heat is applied to the exterior. In addition, food continues to cook once it's removed from heat. I've found that searing scallops on both sides results in overcooked scallops.
Since I've prepared scallops entrées in the past, this gave me the opportunity to explore different
ingredient pairings and The Flavor Bible noted scallops paired well with cured pork, carrots and mushrooms which is the ingredients I used.
If this were a restaurant menu item, I would name it Pan-Seared Sea Scallops, Carrot Purée, Sautéed Ham and Mushrooms.
This dish is a Crazy Foodie Stunts original, however I adapted the pea purée by Chef Robert Dasalla of Little Wine Counter to carrots.
Pan-Seared Sea Scallops, Carrot Purée, Sautéed Ham and Mushrooms.
8 ounces baby carrots, chopped fine
1 to 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 sprig tarragon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces U/10-U/20 sea scallops
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 shallot, chopped
5 ounces ham, diced
5 ounces assorted mushrooms, coarsely chopped (I used shiitake, oyster and cremini)
1/4 cup white wine
1. Prepare the purée. Combine the carrots, 1 stick butter and the tarragon sprig in a saucepan and place
over medium-high heat and cover. Check every 3 minutes until the carrots are tender, adding the
additional half stick butter if the carrots get too dry before becoming tender. Once tender remove the
tarragon sprig but leaving any loose leaves. Strain and save the liquid. Add carrots to a blender and
begin to purée, gradually adding the saved liquid the desired consistency is reached. Discard any
remaining liquid or if more liquid is needed add olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside and
keep warm while the remaining components of the dish are prepared.
2. Sear the scallops. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels, then season both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large heavy bottom skillet over high heat. Once the oil starts to
smoke, add the scallops to sear, 60 to 90 seconds only then remove from the pan to set aside and keep
3. Sauté the ham and mushrooms, then finish the dish. Add the remaining vegetable oil to the skillet
where the scallops were prepared, then add shallots to sweat, approximately 3 minutes. Add in the ham
and mushrooms to sauté, approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Deglaze with the white wine,
stirring to release any fond (brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan), until the wine has evaporated.
To plate, line 3 to 4 scallops diagonally in the middle of the plate. Off to one side, spoon a dollop of the
purée, then smear it on the plate with the spoon. Scatter the mushrooms and ham around the scallops,
then garnish with watercress leaves.
The particular 12-ounce bag of scallops I purchased contained 10 scallops, so when I went to plate the dish for myself, my wife and my 7-year-old daughter, I gave each of my two ladies three scallops and plated 4 for myself. However, while I was taking pictures of the plated dish, my daughter asked for more scallops, pointing to her empty plate, smiling and exclaiming "Yummy!" I gave her my fourth scallop.
Even my wife admitted it was one of my better tasting scallops dishes and that I was on top of my game.
I'd like to thank Gwen for having me today. I certainly did have fun!