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Seared Diver Scallops

Sunchoke purée and radish confit elevate scallops to an elegant main dish, and the twist on gremolata adds flavor complexity sure to delight any seafood lover. Diver scallops are so named because they are hand-harvested by licensed divers, so they are less gritty and more environmentally friendly than those collected by dragnets.

Seared Diver Scallops

Ingredients

Radish Confit:

  • ⅓ C (110 g) radishes, thinly sliced
  • ½ C (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • ⅛ tsp (1 g) crushed red pepper
  • ¼ tsp (2.5 g) sea salt

Scallops & Marinade:

  • 1 lb (480 g) scallops
  • 1 tsp (35 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp (1 g) thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp (1 g) pink peppercorns, crushed

Sunchoke Purée:

  • 2 T (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 C (200 g) sunchokes, peeled and diced
  • 2 T (30 g) shallots, sliced
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • ¾ C (187 g) heavy cream
  • 2½ tsp (12 g) mascarpone
  • 1½ T (16 g) lemon zest
  • 1 T (2.5 g) thyme flowers
  • 1 T (2.5 g) rosemary, chopped
  • 1 T (2.5 g) pine nuts, toasted and chopped

Finishing:

  • 2 T (30 ml) olive oil, divided
  • 2 asparagus spears, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Confit: Combine radishes, olive oil, thyme, red pepper and salt in a small saucepan and cook over low, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cool. Transfer to a bowl, cover; refrigerate overnight.

Scallops: Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Combine olive oil, thyme and pink peppercorns in a bowl. Add scallops, toss gently to coat; cover, refrigerate 1 hour.

Sunchoke: Place half of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high; add half of sunchokes and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add shallots, thyme and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining sunchokes and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until softened, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat, discard thyme; transfer to a food processor, pulse 4-5 times. Add mascarpone and, with machine running, gradually add remaining olive oil. If desired, push through a fine mesh strainer. Transfer to a bowl, cover and set aside.

Gremolata: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Finishing: Place 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high and add asparagus and radish confit. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Place remaining tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil in a large skillet over medium high. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper, place in skillet and cook without moving until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until scallops are medium rare, 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat; let stand 2 minutes. To plate, place a spoonful of purée onto plates; place scallops over purée, and arrange gremolata and radish/asparagus mixture on top of scallops. Serve immediately.

  • Prep time: 25 minutes.
  • Chill time: overnight.
  • Cook time: 45 minutes.
  • Makes 4 servings.