Seared Scallops with Fennel Puree
Entrée
DifficultyIntermediate

By Chef Chris Reynoso of ol' Buckaroo in Three Rivers

Yields2 Servings
 10 large diver scallops
 1 Cara Cara orange (or your favorite citrus)
 ½ cup pistachios
 1 garlic clove, unpeeled and smashed
 1 bay leaf
 fresh thyme
 kosher salt, to taste
 neutral-flavored cooking oil (preferably grapeseed)
 extra virgin olive oil, for finishing
Puree
 2 large bulbs fennel with stalks (fist-sized)
 1 large yellow onion
 1 russet potato approximately 9 oz. (about the size of 1 fennel bulb)
 2 cups heavy whipping cream
1

Trim stalks from the fennel bulb. Reserve stalks and 1/4 of one bulb for garnish salad.

2

Dice fennel bulb and onion.

3

Add olive oil to a pot and heat on high until barely smoking.

4

Add diced onions, fennel and a large pinch of kosher salt. Stir with rubber spatula, cooking fennel and onions until soft and translucent.

5

Add cream and bring to boil, and reduce to simmer. Simmer until fennel can be easily pierced with a knife (cream will boil over if heat is too high). Take off heat and set aside.

6

While cream, fennel and onions are simmering, peel and cut your russet potato into 2-in. chunks. Place in pot with water to cover (add a large pinch of salt to the water), turn on high heat, bring water to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer potatoes until they can be easily pierced.

7

While potatoes are cooking, place cooked cream, fennel and onions in a blender and blend until smooth.

8

Strain potatoes and place through a ricer, or use a fine strainer to push your potatoes through to "mash" them without lumps in your final puree.

9

Mix in about 3/4 of the fennel-onion cream, to create a puree that holds together. Add more or less of the cream to achieve the right consistency. (Any extra cream can be stored in the fridge for 5 days or the freezer for 6 months.)

10

Once the right consistency is achieved, store puree in a pot on the stove until ready to plate.

Garnish Salad
11

Thinly cut reserved 1/4 bulb of fennel with a knife to create a shaved ribbon of fennel. (Or use a mandoline on the thinnest setting.) Reserve.

12

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pistachios on baking sheet. Toast for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned and crunchy.

13

Roughly chop toasted pistachios. Reserve.

14

Pick the tender fennel fronds off of the stalks. Reserve fronds.

15

Supreme your citrus: Cut off the stem top and base of the citrus (Set aside juice from these bits for garnish salad "dressing"). Cut along the curve of the fruit, removing peel and pith (white portion) from top to bottom. Hold completely peeled and pith-free fruit in hand, and carefully cut fruit segments out, slicing between each segment membrane toward the center of the fruit, without hitting the middle membrane. Reserve and set aside your skin-, pith-, and membrane-free citrus segments until ready to finish the dish.

Scallops
16

Remove scallops from fridge about 15 minutes before cooking.

17

Season liberally with kosher salt on each side.

18

Place a flat-bottomed sauté pan on high heat. Drizzle just enough cooking oil on the bottom to coat. (Choose a high burn point and neutral flavor oil: grapeseed or vegetable oil.)

19

Once the pan just begins to smoke, place each scallop, flattest (“presentation”) side down, in the pan, evenly spaced to achieve a golden-brown crust. A large (2-in.) scallop will take about 3 minutes to sear; a smaller scallop takes less time.

20

Once the outer portion of the scallop is a nice golden brown, gently lift each one to see if the scallop has an even crust. Cook the scallop about 80% of the way on the presentation side.

21

Once scallops lift freely off pan, flip and add a large lump of butter to the pan with some fresh thyme, a smashed clove of garlic, and a bay leaf.

22

Lift the pan handle at an angle, so the pan bottom is still over the heat but the butter collects at the tilted bottom of the pan. Gently spoon the hot butter over the presentation side of the scallops for about 1 minute. Remove scallops from pan when they are about 90% cooked.

Plating
23

Reheat your puree if needed.

24

In a small mixing bowl, add the citrus supremes, fennel fronds, and pistachios.

25

Combine 2 tablespoons citrus juice (from your citrus peels) and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add a pinch of kosher salt and stir gently. If too acidic, add more oil. If too bland, add more citrus juice and salt. Reserve.

26

On a plate, spoon a large dollop of hot puree on the top left-hand part of the plate. With the back of your spoon, gently press down to spread the puree to the bottom right-hand quadrant of the plate to make a swoosh with a small well in the center of the puree.

27

Place an odd number of citrus segments randomly on the puree. Once placed, don’t move the segments—you’ll risk smudging your plating. Arrange 5 scallops at random on each plate, on top of and next to the citrus supremes.

28

Tuck the garnish salad around the scallops and citrus atop the puree. Enjoy.

Ingredients

 10 large diver scallops
 1 Cara Cara orange (or your favorite citrus)
 ½ cup pistachios
 1 garlic clove, unpeeled and smashed
 1 bay leaf
 fresh thyme
 kosher salt, to taste
 neutral-flavored cooking oil (preferably grapeseed)
 extra virgin olive oil, for finishing
Puree
 2 large bulbs fennel with stalks (fist-sized)
 1 large yellow onion
 1 russet potato approximately 9 oz. (about the size of 1 fennel bulb)
 2 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions

1

Trim stalks from the fennel bulb. Reserve stalks and 1/4 of one bulb for garnish salad.

2

Dice fennel bulb and onion.

3

Add olive oil to a pot and heat on high until barely smoking.

4

Add diced onions, fennel and a large pinch of kosher salt. Stir with rubber spatula, cooking fennel and onions until soft and translucent.

5

Add cream and bring to boil, and reduce to simmer. Simmer until fennel can be easily pierced with a knife (cream will boil over if heat is too high). Take off heat and set aside.

6

While cream, fennel and onions are simmering, peel and cut your russet potato into 2-in. chunks. Place in pot with water to cover (add a large pinch of salt to the water), turn on high heat, bring water to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer potatoes until they can be easily pierced.

7

While potatoes are cooking, place cooked cream, fennel and onions in a blender and blend until smooth.

8

Strain potatoes and place through a ricer, or use a fine strainer to push your potatoes through to "mash" them without lumps in your final puree.

9

Mix in about 3/4 of the fennel-onion cream, to create a puree that holds together. Add more or less of the cream to achieve the right consistency. (Any extra cream can be stored in the fridge for 5 days or the freezer for 6 months.)

10

Once the right consistency is achieved, store puree in a pot on the stove until ready to plate.

Garnish Salad
11

Thinly cut reserved 1/4 bulb of fennel with a knife to create a shaved ribbon of fennel. (Or use a mandoline on the thinnest setting.) Reserve.

12

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pistachios on baking sheet. Toast for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned and crunchy.

13

Roughly chop toasted pistachios. Reserve.

14

Pick the tender fennel fronds off of the stalks. Reserve fronds.

15

Supreme your citrus: Cut off the stem top and base of the citrus (Set aside juice from these bits for garnish salad "dressing"). Cut along the curve of the fruit, removing peel and pith (white portion) from top to bottom. Hold completely peeled and pith-free fruit in hand, and carefully cut fruit segments out, slicing between each segment membrane toward the center of the fruit, without hitting the middle membrane. Reserve and set aside your skin-, pith-, and membrane-free citrus segments until ready to finish the dish.

Scallops
16

Remove scallops from fridge about 15 minutes before cooking.

17

Season liberally with kosher salt on each side.

18

Place a flat-bottomed sauté pan on high heat. Drizzle just enough cooking oil on the bottom to coat. (Choose a high burn point and neutral flavor oil: grapeseed or vegetable oil.)

19

Once the pan just begins to smoke, place each scallop, flattest (“presentation”) side down, in the pan, evenly spaced to achieve a golden-brown crust. A large (2-in.) scallop will take about 3 minutes to sear; a smaller scallop takes less time.

20

Once the outer portion of the scallop is a nice golden brown, gently lift each one to see if the scallop has an even crust. Cook the scallop about 80% of the way on the presentation side.

21

Once scallops lift freely off pan, flip and add a large lump of butter to the pan with some fresh thyme, a smashed clove of garlic, and a bay leaf.

22

Lift the pan handle at an angle, so the pan bottom is still over the heat but the butter collects at the tilted bottom of the pan. Gently spoon the hot butter over the presentation side of the scallops for about 1 minute. Remove scallops from pan when they are about 90% cooked.

Plating
23

Reheat your puree if needed.

24

In a small mixing bowl, add the citrus supremes, fennel fronds, and pistachios.

25

Combine 2 tablespoons citrus juice (from your citrus peels) and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add a pinch of kosher salt and stir gently. If too acidic, add more oil. If too bland, add more citrus juice and salt. Reserve.

26

On a plate, spoon a large dollop of hot puree on the top left-hand part of the plate. With the back of your spoon, gently press down to spread the puree to the bottom right-hand quadrant of the plate to make a swoosh with a small well in the center of the puree.

27

Place an odd number of citrus segments randomly on the puree. Once placed, don’t move the segments—you’ll risk smudging your plating. Arrange 5 scallops at random on each plate, on top of and next to the citrus supremes.

28

Tuck the garnish salad around the scallops and citrus atop the puree. Enjoy.

Seared Scallops with Fennel Puree

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