Monday, December 22, 2008

CSA week four - Seared scallops with bacon, tomato, and avocado puree

I should have just wrapped a scallop with bacon, seared it, dropped it on a slice of tomato and topped it with a dollop of mashed avocado. Instead I followed this overcomplicated-to-no-great-advantage recipe from Martha Stewart.


Serves 2 to 4

* 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
* 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar or corn syrup (I've been looking for something to do with the bottle of agave nectar I bought on a whim a while ago.)
* 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

* 1 medium Hass avocado, pitted (I used a Monroe)
* 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 tablespoons Brown Butter, cooled

* 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch-long pieces
* 6 to 8 sea scallops
* 1 tablespoon butter

* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 cup red or yellow cherry tomatoes, halved (I chopped up one of the CSA tomatoes instead. Not nearly as nice in either flavor or texture, really.)
* 2 lovage leaves or celery leaves, torn (I used arugula)
* Fleur de sel


1. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, agave nectar, vanilla, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil, while continuing to whisk, until an emulsion has formed. Set vinaigrette aside.

2. Remove flesh from avocado and place in the jar of a blender along with 1 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, olive oil, and brown butter; blend until smooth.

3. Place bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon, turning, until fat has been rendered, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from skillet; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

4. Pour off bacon fat from skillet and discard. Return skillet to stove and place over high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper; add to skillet. Sear scallops 1 minute, add butter and turn scallops; sear 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat.

5. Spread a spoonful of avocado puree on each serving plate. Divide scallops evenly between plates; drizzle with vinaigrette. In a medium bowl, add bacon, tomatoes, lovage, and remaining vinaigrette; toss to combine. Divide evenly between plates, season with fleur de sel, and serve immediately.

First published: May 2008

Some presentation, huh?

The seared scallops are good just on their own. No complaints there. Actually, I'm kind of surprised at how well I cooked them considering how little experience I have working with sea scallops.

With bacon: better. But you knew that.

With avocado goop: about the same. It tastes of avocado, brown butter and olive oil and it's OK but it adds a lot of fat the dish doesn't need for an unremarkable result. And there was a whole heck of a lot of it. Maybe a medium Hass avocado is smaller than I thought. I used a bit more than half of a medium Monroe avocado. Even with the waterier Monroe it really didn't want to blend. The blades would clear out a space and whir away under a dome of half-mushed avocado pieces. There was a lot of stopping and starting a stirring and poking before I got something reasonable out of it. It would only be worse with a more solid Hass so I don't how it was supposed to work or how the flavors were supposed to balance out.

With the salad: eh, why not?

With the vinaigrette: blagh. Oh, I just realized I switched the quarter teaspoon for the agave nectar with the half teaspoon for the vanilla. That would explain the bitterness and intense lingering unpleasantness of the vanilla clashing with everything else on the plate. It doesn't help that the new brand of olive oil I tried turned out to be pretty bitter too.

Ah well. Even if I hadn't screwed it up, I can't imagine the world's best vinaigrette elevating this dish into something worth the trouble. Worth a try, though.

1 comment:

kat said...

Your first sentence tells me all I need to know