Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pan Seared Scallops with Roasted Root Vegetable Puree

This dish represents a first for me ... a challenge to create a dish specifically to pair to a beer. The beer is the New Belgium Brewing Company's Grand Cru Abbey Ale.  After reviewing the brewer's website and perusing the recommended food pairing, there was something that caught my eye.  Roasted vegetables.  Those two words started the creative process.  Carrots, garlic, leeks, onions, radishes.  There were a lot of choices when it comes to ingredients.  Ultimately, I decided on a selection of root vegetables -- carrots, leeks and radishes -- along with some vegetables that I had lying around the kitchen, like onions and garlic.

There were also choices when it came to preparation.  While I had been thinking about the ingredients, I chose scallops as the protein.  The question then became: how do I "pair" the vegetables to the scallops?  I had to answer this question before I could ultimately pair the dish with the beer.  I decided that the roast the vegetables and then puree them to the something that approached the consistency of mashed potatoes.

So, in the end, I had Pan Seared Scallops with Roasted Root Vegetable Puree.  The dish turned out well, the pureeing of the different root vegetables resulted in an interesting texture for the puree.  This texture could be smoothed out for people who like things like smooth mashed potatoes, by the addition of a couple of tablespoons of milk or heavy cream.  Since I like my mashed potatoes with some texture, I did not add anything to the puree, other than some coriander and toasted whole cloves, which tied the dish together with the beer


PAN SEARED SCALLOPS WITH ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLE PUREE
A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2

Ingredients:
8 bay scallops  
1 bunch of carrots (approximately 8 carrots)
1 bunch of radishes (approximately 10 radishes)
2 leeks
1/2 sweet onion
6 cloves of garlic, roasted
8 cloves, toasted
1/4 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme chopped
Handful of thyme sprigs
3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste

Directions:
1.  Roast the vegetables.  Cut the root vegetables (leek, radishes, carrots, onion) into even size pieces.  Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Add the thyme sprigs.  Mix the vegetables so that all are well covered with the oil, salt and pepper.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Roast the vegetables in the oven for about thirty minutes. 

2.  Make the puree.  Remove the vegetables and add to a blender.  Toast the cloves in a dry pan until fragrant and add them to the blender with the coriander. Puree the vegetables, spoon into a bowl and cover. 

3.  Saute the scallops.  Heat the 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan on high heat.  Add the scallops and sear on one side for about eight minutes.  Flip and continue to cook until the other side begins to develop some color, about four to five minutes more depending upon the size of the scallops. 

4.  Plate the dish.  Plate the roasted root vegetable puree in the middle of the plate and place four scallops on the puree.  Sprinkle some of the chopped thyme and serve immediately.

ENJOY!

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