I love scallops. Like, adore them. There is something so delicate and elegant about them that makes them feel like such a delicacy. I love the idea of the simple one-bite pleasure of the scallops and all of its accompaniments together – so I thought I would make something for these little “fish spoons” (honestly, not sure what they’re called) that I have had forever but rarely get to use. Now, this dish can also be made as a starter on a plate with multiple scallops no problem – because I also understand that normal people don’t have these little fish spoons randomly waiting in their kitchen drawers waiting to be used.
I find, the best scallops (and more tender) are the larger ones. The ones I have used here are the large scallops from North Sea Fish & Farms, but you can also look for medium or large scallops at your local fish monger. Remember when cooking scallops to never overcook them, or else they get rubbery and loose their tenderness. A quick 1.5 min sear a side is really all they need to lock in that delicious subtle flavour.
Now, this recipe might seem daunting by the name – but really it only has 3 parts: scallops (which only need a quick sear), carrot puree (roast/boil and then throw in a blender), and the ever-so-fancy sounding pomegranate beurre blanc (boil some wine and juice and throw in butter). See? It’s not as hard to be fancy as it sounds.
18 large scallops
10-12 medium sized carrots
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp smoked salt*
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbs chilled butter
1/2 pomegranate seeds
3 chives, sliced into 18 one-inch pieces
Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the carrots in 1 tbs of the olive oil and season with the smoked salt and pepper. Bake on a baking sheet for 20-30 mins or until very tender (you can also boil them). Place the tender carrots in a food processor or blender and start to puree. Add the orange juice and chicken stock slowly while the food processor is on in order to create a smooth puree. Taste and add more smoked salt or pepper if needed.
Meanwhile, simmer the pomegranate juice and white wine in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to about 1/4 cup of the liquid remains. Take off the heat and whisk in the chilled butter one cube at a time until all is melted.
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 tbs of olive oil. Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Sear the scallops in the hot pan for 1.5 mins a side. Remove from heat and take off the pan as soon as they are done.
To assemble the bite-sized portions, layer 1 tsp carrot puree, a scallop and 1/4 tsp pomegranate beurre blanc 4-5 pomegranate seeds and a sliver of chive per a spoon. For an individual plate, layer 1/2 cup carrot puree, 6 scallops, 1 tsp pomegranate beurre blanc, 2 tbs pomegranate seeds and 6 slices of chives.