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
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.
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.
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!
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.