Friday 15 November 2013

Seared Scallops with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta

This was actually from a week or two ago, not long before a real cold snap; much more than just a heavy frost.  Luckily, I had harvested the few brussels sprouts that were ready.  Not many, but great eating these straight from the garden.

I had a friend over and wanted to try this dish out.  We were discussing our favourite way of eating brussels sprouts: mine is to cut them in half, place cut side down in a hot pan with olive oil and butter to caramelize then add some stock and cook until tender.  She said she takes them apart leaf by leaf before cooking; that is the best way to ensure they are evenly cooked.  I have to agree.

The bottom layer of the stack is some of that delicious fennel and potato gratin dish I posted a while back (but it's not super obvious from the pictures, you can just see a bit of white poking out).  I could make that every week and not get tired of it!  But it's not necessary for the dish; I was just looking for a bit more substance after a long day of ... well, just hanging out, I guess!  Oh yeah, and a little bit of yard work after the nasty windstorm blew apart my greenhouse.

Serves 2 as an appetizer or more of a small meal with the gratin added in.

3-4 large sea scallops
1 round of thickly cut pancetta, diced
3 cups brussels sprouts, root removed and leaves separated
Fennel and potato gratin (optional) - see recipe here

Saute the diced pancetta in a hot pan for a few minutes to render some of the fat.  Then toss in the leaves of the brussels sprouts.  Continue to saute on medium high heat, stirring occasionally.  In only a few minutes the leaves will turn a brighter green.  Continue cooking another minute or two and the leaves will start to brown and caramelize.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Season the scallops on top and bottom with salt and pepper. Bring the same pan back to medium high heat; add olive oil if needed (but there may still be fat left from the pancetta).  Sear the scallops on both sides for just a minute or so (scallops can be served quite rare).

On each plate, start with a layer of the fennel-potato on a plate, add some of the brussels sprouts/pancetta mixture next, then top with a seared scallop.  Serve immediately.

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