Seared Sea Scallops with Truffled Pea Purée

seared scallops
Scallops have always been a favorite of mine and whenever they are on a menu, I find it really hard not to order them. I haven’t had much success of cooking them in the past – never having them match up to the melt-in-your-mouth version I always order out at restaurants.

Saturday night I had an urge to just stay in with the hubs and cook a yummy meal. I decided to try my attempt at scallops again and serving them over this to-die-for Truffled Pea Purée. And O YEAH. I can safely say that I finally conquered the restaurant-worthy scallop dish and I’m really excited about it.

Serves 2

Seared Scallops
8 large sea scallops
1 cup of boiled water
4 cups of cold water
1/2 cup of salt
3 tablespoons of butter (I used whipped butter which has a lower fat content)
Salt for seasoning
Chopped basil for garnish

Truffled Pea Purée
2 tablespoon of butter (I used whipped butter which has a lower fat content)
1 large shallot, chopped
2 garlic gloves, chopped
14 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup of chicken broth
3 cups of peas (fresh or use frozen and thaw out)
1/4 cup of fresh shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons of black truffle oil
3 pinches of salt

Start by making a quick brine bath for your scallops. This will season them all the way through (tip from the Thomas Keller Ad Hoc cookbook 🙂 Combine the 1 cup of boiled water with the salt in a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add the cold water. Next add the scallops to the brine and let stand for 10 minutes (no longer, or the scallops may become too salty). Drain the scallops, rinse under cold water, and arrange in a single layer on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate while you make the pea purée.

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add butter and coat the pan until melted. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant (about 4 minutes – the shallot should look translucent). Toss in the basil and then pour in the chicken broth and peas. Lower the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Toss in the fresh Parmesan and stir. Pour everything into a blender and pour in the two tablespoons of truffle oil and three pinches of salt. Blend on the purée setting until smooth. Do a taste test and get ready to moan! (Feel free to add more salt or more truffle oil depending on preference). Pour into a bowl or pot with a lid to keep warm.

Next, take your scallops out of the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel. (Side note: with 8 large scallops you will want to cook them in separate skillets because you don’t want to overcrowd the scallops. In order for them to get a nice sear on the outside, they can’t be touching or too close to one another. The best pan to use for searing scallops is a cast iron skillet (you get the best sear from cast iron), but a regular non-stick frying pan will work too.) Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter to each skillet and warm over medium high heat. Make sure the pans are well coated (if not, add more butter). Sprinkle the scallops lightly with salt and add four to each skillet, being careful that they do not touch. Do not move the scallops once they are in the pan. You want to make sure each side gets a nice caramelized sear. Cook for about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes and flip (try and place each one on a part of the pan that has not yet been touched). Let caramelize and sear for another 3 minutes or so. They should be golden brown on the outside (Make sure you don’t over cook! Nothing is worse than an overcooked scallop).

Heat up your pea puree if you need to in the microwave and stir. To plate, spoon a nice portion of the pea puree onto two separate plates, topping with four scallops on each plate. Drizzle with some more truffle oil and sprinkle with fresh chopped basil.

I hope you enjoy my new favorite dish! I wish I was eating it right now….


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