Seared Sea Scallops with Spring-Dug Parsnip Butter
|Cookbook Title: Homegrown: Pure and Simple|
A good friend, chef Peter Davis of Henriettas Table in Cambridge, Massachusetts, introduced me to spring dug parsnips. Its a perennial root in northern regions, and when properly tended, survives the winter so that it can be dug up in the spring when the greens begin to appear on the tops. The root benefits from parboiling and then roasting to bring out the overwintered sweetness.
Photo courtesy of Susie Cushner.
1 large or 2 medium spring-dug parsnips peeled (about 10 ounces total)
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons firmly packed, chopped fresh chervil plus 6 generous sprigs for garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
12 large dry sea scallops (about 12 ounces total) (see note)
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
2. In a saucepan, combine the parsnips with water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to simmer over medium heat and parboil for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Lift the parsnips from the pan and reserve ¼ cup of the liquid.
3. Slice the parsnip into ½ inch-thick pieces and lay the pieces on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until nicely browned. Turn the parsnips at least once during roasting to ensure even browning.
4. Transfer the parsnips to a food processor. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and pulse until the parsnips break down. With the motor running, add the reserved ¼ cup liquid 1 tablespoon at a time and process until the mixture resembles loose peanut butter or apple butter. Finish by slowly pulsing in the olive oil and chopped chervil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scrape into a dish or small saucepan with a lid and set aside to keep warm. You should have about 2 cups.
5. Heat a large, dry skillet or sauté pan over high heat. Brush each scallop on all sides with the grapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the scallops in the hot pan and do not move them for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the edges are well browned. Turn the scallops over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until cooked through.
6. Put the scallops on a warmed plate and let them rest for 2 minutes. If juice pools on the plate, stir it into the parsnip puree for extra flavor.
7. Divide the parsnip puree evenly among 4 warmed dinner plates, placing it in the center. Set 3 scallops on top of each mound and garnish with the chervil sprigs. Serve at once.
NOTE: Buy scallops that look creamy white or even slightly pink.
Copyright © 2005 by Michel Nischan
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