This is another recipe made from our gift of Breton Scallops. For this one, I wanted something lighter, with some Asian flavors. I had some lemongrass leaves that I thought would go well with the sweetness of the scallops. I also had some crisp radishes for a sharp note and some celery root to round out the flavor.
I didn’t do much to the scallops--they didn’t need much. I rinsed them, dried them well, and ground some pepper over them. This time, I didn’t have a pan with flavored oil ready for them, so I put a little bit of olive oil on the scallops themselves. That way, I didn’t have to use too much oil. It worked well--they seared nicely and had a lovely color.
I had intended to make a vinaigrette for these, but when I tasted the vegetables with their herbs, I tossed that idea and just used a little bit of mild rice wine vinegar. Perfect!
I like verrines. There’s something about their compact completeness that appeals to me. Maybe because I love little containers. Maybe because I love glassware. I don’t know, but I know that I make verrines whenever I can. They’re just so....cute.
4 cm / 1 1/2 inch cube of celery root
4 cm / 1 1/2 inch celery
6 lemongrass leaves
3 basil leaves
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
8 sea scallops
- Slice the radishes in half, then slice each half in three, making three round slices. Cut julienne from those. This is the size you’ll want to make all of your other julienne.
- Slice the celery and the celery root the same length as your radishes, and julienne.
- Make a chiffonnade of the herb leaves: stack the basil and lemongrass leaves, roll them like a tiny cigar and cut them into thin slices. You’ll end up with shreds.
- Put all of your julienne and herbs in a bowl and add the rice wine vinegar. Stir to mix well.
- Rinse and dry the scallops. It’s important that they be very dry or they wont’ sear well. Grind some pepper over them, and add about a teaspoon of good olive oil. Mix gently to coat the scallops with the olive oil.
- Heat a frying pan till it’s very hot and add the scallops. Cook about 2 minutes each side or until almost done. They’ll continue to cook after you take them off the heat. You don’t want to overcook these or you’ll have little seared chewing gum balls.
- Put the julienne mixture in each of 4 verrines. Top each one with 2 scallops threaded on a pretty skewer or toothpick. Serve immediately.
Enough for 4
- I used lemongrass leaves because I had them. If you don’t have them, you can use any other fresh herb that you have that would go well with these flavors. Parsley, cilantro, dill, fennel, rocket. I don’t think I’d use mint, though.
- Fennel would be a nice addition to the julienne if you have it. You could also add a tiny bit of cabbage or endive. Or bell pepper.
- You could use lemon or lime juice instead of the vinegar. Or white balsamic. I don’t think I’d use the dark balsamic, though, or you’d kill the pretty colors.