With Pan Fried Polenta

Seared Sea Scallops w/ Pan-Fried Polenta

With Pan Fried Polenta
Photography by Lauren Williams

This is a date night dish.  This is when you want to step up from your B game to your A game and really impress whomever your significant other might be.  This was my first time ever cooking polenta, and first time in years cooking scallops, but I knew I would love the malleable nature of polenta and have always had an affectionate spot in my heart for scallops.  This dish is a combination of extraordinarily strong contrasting flavor profiles.  The polenta and scallops themselves are both mild in nature, just great texturally when seasoned and seared well.  The plum malt liquor reduction is ridiculously tart and sweet, while the roasted onions are extremely salty and the avocado is smooth and creamy while the seared leeks are crunchy.  But when you get a bite of all of the ingredients together you get an ecstasy enducing bite that has crunchy seared polenta, with smooth inside polenta, and crunchy seared scallop with smooth inside scallop, and all the flavors I just explicated.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Large Sea Scallops (or diver scallops if you can find them)
  • 20 oz Malt Liquor (I used half a St. Ives 40 oz)
  • 5-7 Dried Plums
  • 1 Can of Apricots in Juice
  • 1 Tsp Honey
  • 1 Cup King Crab & Lobster Stock (Replace with any seafood stock or broth you can find)
  • 1 Medium Sized Leek
  • 1 Sweet Yellow Onion
  • 5 Baby Eggplants
  • 1 Can of Peeled Whole Plum Tomatoes
  • 2 Tsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • 1 Tsp Rosemary
  • Dried Sweet Basil

 

SCALLOPS AND POLENTA RECIPE

  1. Slice 2 1/3′ thick slices of onion, drizzle with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and marjoram (just a sprinkle)
  2. Preheat oven to 450
  3. Wrap each onion in foil, while maintaining the rings
  4. Place in oven
  5. Cook about 15 minutes wrapped, and 10 minutes unwrapped until golden brown and salty gooey!
  6. Heat non-stick pan to medium high heat
  7. Add 1tbsp olive oil
  8. Slice 1 1/2′ thick slices of polenta
  9. Season with salt, pepper
  10. Place in Pan
  11. cook 3-4 minutes
  12. Flip
  13. Cook 3-4 Minutes
  14. Heat another pan to medium high heat
  15. Add 1 tbsp olive oil
  16. My scallops were frozen, so I thawed them, rinsed them, then patted them dry and hit them with salt and pepper
  17. Place them in your pan
  18. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, be sure to get a nice golden brown sear on both side
  19. Treat the scallops like a steak, poke them to check for doneness, they should be firm on the sear with bouncy recoil when pressed
  20. Set the scallops on plate
  21. Return the pan to medium high heat and add 6, 1/2′ slices of of Leek to the pan, and just get a good sear on both sides (optional for garnish)
  22. Top with onion ring
  23. Top with sauced up onions and plums
  24. Top with polenta
  25. Top with 2-4 thin slices of avocado
  26. Top with seared leeks
  27. Sprinkle with paprika
  28. Serve!

 

PLUM AND MALT LIQUOR REDUCTION RECIPE

  1. Bring malt liquor to a boil
  2. Add your remaining leeks(sliced vertically) to the water as well as the remaining sweet onion(sliced vertically into sticks also), 2 bay leaves, and dried plums(roughly chopped)
  3. Reduce until only 1/4 of the malt liquor remains
  4. Add the juice from the apricots and the honey
  5. Reduce until it’s almost all cooked off, and you have syrupy onions, leeks and plums
  6. Add your King Crab & Lobster Stock and rosemary, and remove the bay leaves
  7. Bring to a boil and reduce until a lot of the liquid has dissolved, but you’ve still got a few tbsp of sauce left in the pan along with the onions and plums

 This is one of the most flavorful and perfectly imbalanced dishes I’ve made in a long time.  It was incredible and next I’ll have the recipe for the single layer eggplant lasagna that went with it!  Do you like scallops?  What’s your favorite seafood?  Be sure to comment!

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