seared scallops with edamame puree

Date night doesn't stop at bone marrow...that would be date night for wussies, and wussies we are not. But since we'd probably still have residual meat-butter on our faces, the hard part was thinking of something that wasn't too heavy. In a flash of genius, he suggested a surf-and-turf theme - seared scallops. To the seafood counter we went...

Maybe I was distracted - probably from tightly hugging the bones to my chest and daydreaming about goodness - but aside from buying them, I forgot to give a second thought to the scallops. So, as is often the case, I had to improvise based on what I already had.

Exhibit 1: frozen edamame. I keep these on hand to toss into stir-fries or to just snack on. 

I apologize in advance for the vagueness of the steps here. When you improvise, it can seem like a blur. I let them go in the food processor and drizzled in hot water until it changed from a coarse mixture to something more velvety. Added some drops of rice wine vinegar and a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness.

Exhibit 2: bacon. Why? WHY NOT. 

Exhibit 3: radishes. With the vegetal quality from the edamame puree and the saltiness from their rendered bacon, I wanted something peppery and raw atop each scallop to complete the spectrum of flavors. Or...I just had some radishes in the fridge that I needed to use.

I love cutting things in cubes. Everything just looks immediately gorgeous in cube-form.

I sear my scallops in clarified butter because Thomas Keller tells me to. Well, also because it makes for a better seared scallop with a more caramelized crust. Clarifying butter just means taking out the milk solids so you can cook with it at higher temperatures without it browning or burning. To perform this feat of magic, just melt some butter in a pan until the white foam comes to the surface, and then skim as much of the white stuff off as you can.

Resist the urge to use a non-stick pan - they never get a good sear on anything. Go with a cast-iron pan, heat your super butter to a high temperature, and you'll get the most lovely golden color when you flip.

Plating is really hard. I make fun of Bobby Flay all the time for his crappy plating because he just seems to squirt a bunch of habanero sauces on everything, but when I tried to do it myself, it was an utter failure. This is like attempt #3 and it's still not where I want it to be. We were too high on bone marrow to care and after all that plating, it was all gone in two seconds flat. It was that good.

seared scallops with edamame puree 
serves 2 as appetizers, double the amount for entree

1 cup thawed edamame
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
hot water for drizzling

4 tablespoons butter
1 strip bacon
4 scallops, dried thoroughly on towel
1 radish, cut into cubes

Puree edamame in food processor and drizzle in hot water until it is less like a paste and more like a sauce. I also drizzled in some rice wine vinegar and lemon juice for acidity, but be creative here. Some other citrus like orange might be delicious. Also stream in the oil to create an emulsion.

Cut the strip of bacon into 1/2 inch rectangles, and render in a pan until crispy. Set aside.

Clarify your butter by heating it on medium-low in a pan, and skimming off the white milk-solids that rise and ebb on the surface.  

Make sure your scallops are completely dry (as is the case with anything you're about to subject to high temperatures. Water droplets means oil splatters, meaning it will get you in the eye. I mean it.) Season the scallops with salt. 

Heat the butter in a cast iron pan until it is rippling and smoking. Drop your scallops in clockwise order, starting at 12 o'clock; that way, you know which to flip first. Don't touch them for 2 and a half minutes, and then check to see if you have the color you want. If not, let it go another 30 seconds. Flip, and caramelize the other side (probably around 1.5 minutes), depending on the size of your scallops.

Plating: sauce, bacon bits, scallop. Sprinkle with bits of radish.


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