Surf and Turf: Scallops with Garden Vegetables

If you can find truly fresh scallops, pay for them! I got these scallops the day after they were pulled out of the Montauk bay, stored in nothing but sea water: they were truly the best scallops I’ve ever tasted. The vegetables that I chose to use were from the garden, and while you can certainly mix and match, these were a nice combination. You can also very the type of nuts that you use, if you don’t like walnuts.

Serves 4

  • 8-10 strips bacon
  • 1 medium leek
  • 2 piquin chilies
  • 2 large broccoli heads
  • 1 pound peas (in-shell)
  •  1 large red beet
  • 1 cup shelled walnuts
  • 12 large scallops

Finely dice 8-10 strips bacon and 1 medium leek. Add to a saute pan, along with 2 piquin chilies (crumbled) cook over low heat until the bacon and leeks are cooked. When they are done, remove them to a dish with a few layers of paper towels. Meanwhile bring a large pot of very salt water to a boil. Cut 2 large broccoli heads and 1 pound peas (in-shell) into bite-sized pieces (max. 1 inch long). Blanch the broccoli and peas in batches (~2 minutes for the broccoli, 1 minute for the peas) and chill in a large bowl of ice-water. Remove the veggies to a towel to dry. Peel and slice 1 large red beet into juliennes (long thin strips) and blanch for 15 seconds, removing to the ice-water to chill, and then to the towel to dry. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat with 1-2 Tbsp butter. Once the butter is melted, add 1 cup shelled walnuts and toast until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt in a few Tbsp butter. Add the blanched veggies (except the beets), tossing them to coat evenly in the butter and warm them through. Heat another large skillet over high heat with a few Tbsp oil. Pat dry 12 large scallops and generously salt the best looking side. Cook the scallops (salted side down) for about 5 minutes, or until a nice brown crust has formed. Flip the scallops, add a few Tbsp butter to the dish, basting the scallops with the melted butter for another 1-2 minutes. Remove the scallops to a tray with paper towels.

To plate, add the veggies and top with a small handful of julienned beets. Add three scallops on top of the vegetables and top with a small scoop of bacon/leeks. Sprinkle some toasted walnuts around the scallops and serve.

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