Sweet, tender, mild, and delectable —like scallops like carrots in the fall. Especially now when carrots are particularly sweet because of October snow (still getting used to the concept...) and the Nantucket scallops are in season.
There are few main courses as elegant and yet as simple as a dish of seared scallops, resting on a puree of carrot and apple, with sage pesto for color and punch.
Make the Purée
- 1 lb carrots halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 Red Delicious apple, skin on, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Simmer carrots and apples in a medium heavy saucepan, with a little water (add it by the tablespoon), until carrots are very tender, about 25 minutes. Stir often, making sure the carrots don’t begin to brown. Be careful with the water – the apples should provide plenty of liquid. Purée mixture in a food processor until smooth. Strain.
Make Sage Pesto
- 1/2 cup (packed) fresh sage leaves
- 1 roasted garlic clove
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, Purée mixture until smooth.
If you don’t have roasted garlic handy, slice thinly one raw clove and combine with the olive oil in a skillet. Heat gently together until fragrant. Let cool (this is important) and then purée with the sage.
Sear the Scallops
1/2 lb. large sea scallops
1 Tbs. unsalted butter or olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pull the scallops out of the fridge 5-10 minutes before you cook them. Remove the tough abductor muscle from the side of each scallop (if it’s still there). Pat the scallops dry with paper towels; surface moisture impedes browning.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the butter, and heat until quite hot.
Pat the scallops dry again and put them in the pan in a single, uncrowded layer. Season with salt and pepper and let sear undisturbed until one side is caramelized, 2 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the scallops and sear until the second side is well browned and the scallops are almost firm to the touch, 2 to 4 minutes.
Mound a little of the carrot-apple purée on a plate. Arrange the scallops around it. Drizzle a little sage pesto. Not too much so it won’t overpower the purée and scallops.
Note: At the restaurant the chefs use an indoor grill which many home cooks don’t have (hence the grill marks.) We adapted the recipe to pan searing, to make it more accessible.
This blog post was originally published at princetoneats.org.