Seared Scallops w/ Sunchokes, Mushroom Puree & Avocado Mousse

 

I was in NYC a few weeks back and had a roasted salmon dish with wild mushroom puree, sunchokes and a delicious verre blanc sauce. What restaurant did this come from you might ask?  I would have to tell you that it was served at a lunch meeting from a corporate kitchen, but it could have easily been served a Le Bernardin down the block…if they serve up meals like this on a consistent basis, I’m switching companies! Anyway, I decided to re-create it with scallops and an avocado-based sauce.

Serves – 3 – 4

12 large sea scallops (3 per guest)

2 avocados, peeled and chopped

½ lb sunchokes, cleaned and chopped into bite sized pieces (think the size of half of a finger)

16 oz assorted mushrooms (I used shitake and crimini)

1 small container of crème fraiche

½ cup chicken stock

EVOO

S&P

Coriander

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, drizzle the sunchokes with EVOO and season them with S&P; roast them for about 30 minutes, or until they’re soft. Sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes, are neither from Jerusalem nor an artichoke; they’re more of a root vegetable that has an incredible earthy taste that falls somewhere between a potato and a parsnip, but creamier.

Sunchokes

While the sunchokes are cooking, drizzle the mushrooms with EVOO and season them with S&P; add them to the oven and roast them for about 20 minutes. Combine the roasted mushrooms with ½ of the crème fraiche in a food processor and pulse until combined; it’s better to have a little bit of a textured feel than completely smooth; season with S&P to taste if necessary.

Mushroom puree; a small food processsor is great for these smaller tasks…and much easier to clean!

The key with getting a nice sear on the scallops is to keep them dry, so don’t put any oil directly on them. Use a paper towel to dry them off and season liberally with S&P and the coriander; I added a little cayenne to these to spice them up a bit if you’re wondering what the red in the picture is!

Seasoned scallops ready to hit the pan.

Make sure your sauté pan is good and hot and then add 1tbsp of EVOO or butter; you actually want the oil to start smoking before you add the scallops. Once you add them to the pan do not touch them; cook them for about 2-3 minutes and then gently flip them and cook for another minute or so. Scallops should be served with a slightly translucent center; from a texture perspective think rare in the middle.

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