Sophisticated yet simple to create, buttery scallops pair beautifully with the nutty pilaf of split emmer farro and wild rice. Balsamic roasted red onions, sautéed mushrooms and roasted fennel elevate this otherwise simple pilaf and bring complex flavors and textures to the party. Elegant enough for a dinner party but simple enough to make any night of the week.
1 pound large scallops (sometimes called dollar scallops)
1 shallot finely diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons butter (divided)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon piment d'ville (piment d'espelette)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 fennel bulb
2 cups sliced mushrooms (preferably wild mushrooms, shiitake, or brown cremini)
1 red onion
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Parsley or chives for garnish
Good quality vinegar like American Vinegarworks Hot Vinegar or Chardonnay Vinegar. (good quality sherry vinegar is a good substitution)
Preheat the oven to 385
Heat butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a medium size sauce pan on medium heat. Add the 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 finely diced shallot. sauté until they are starting to brown. Add salt, pepper, piment d'ville and dried oregano. Continue stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add the white whine and scrape up all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat up and deglaze the pan with the wine, cooking until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the potlatch pilaf and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce temperature, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile slice the red onion into rings and place them in the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinke with salt and then drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Close up the foil to make a little steaming pouch.
Slice the fennel bulb into 1/2 inch chunks and scatter them on a parchment lined sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Place the sheet pan and foil pouch in the pre-heated oven. Roast the fennel until fully brown on the edges and starting to caramelize. (about 10-15 minutes) leave the balsamic onion in for 20-30 minutes,
Lay the scallops on a paper town and pat them completely dry with another paper towel. They must be completely dry or they will not sear. Season the scallops with salt and pepper.
Heat up the skillet slowly with 1 tablespoon butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Fully coat the pan with oil. Add sliced mushrooms to the pan and sauté the mushrooms, adding salt and pepper as you cook. You want them to get slightly brown around the edges. Remove the mushrooms and set aside.
Turn up the heat on the pan to medium high heat. Once the fat is just starting to smoke, add the scallops to the pan. They should sizzle as you add them. Be sure to leave plenty of room between the scallops so they do not crowd the pan. Sear for 2 minutes per side. Do not move them once you put them into the pan until it's time to flip or you will not get a nice sear.
Once the pilaf is finished cooking add the mushrooms and fennel and combine. Plate the pilaf and top with the seared scallops and balsamic red onion, garnish with parsley or diced chives.
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