Chef’s Table: Seafood Expert Chris Svalesen is Crazy for Scallops
This is the peak time of year for scallops. As New England readies for its first big chill, lobsters are out, and big diver scallops—their shells as big as dinner plates—are in. Sweet, briny, almost like butter…mmm. Here’s what I’ll be cooking this weekend.
Pistachio-crusted Diver Scallops over Pear Puree, with Sweet Potato Pancakes and Blackberry Drizzle
To make the scallops:
Season 3 large, fresh scallops with kosher salt and black pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil. In a spice grinder or food processor, grind 4 ounces of pistachio nuts until fine. Coat both sides of scallops in the ground nuts, then place the coated scallops in the hot skillet, cook the scallops for three minutes on each side, then remove the scallops and set aside.
To make the pear puree:
Peel and chop 2 Bosch pears, then place then in a small pot with 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of water. Cover, cook over medium heat until tender, then puree in a blender. Set aside.
To make the sweet potato pancakes:
Coarsely shred 1 peeled, raw sweet potato, then add 4 tablespoons of minced onions, 1 egg, and 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie filling. Spoon small portions of the batter into a hot, buttered skillet to make quarter-sized pancakes. Cook on each side for 4 minutes, remove to a paper towel, and set aside.
To make the blackberry drizzle:
In another small pot, add 1 cup of fresh blackberries, 1 tablespoon of brandy, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside.
To assemble, spoon a small portion of the pear puree in the center of a plate, place sweet potato cake in the center of the puree, then place a scallop on top. Drizzle with the blackberry puree.
Chris Svalesen was the chef/owner of Fish Restaurant in downtown Dallas, which was named one of the top ten restaurants in the US by Esquire Magazine when it opened in 1995. and the former executive chef at Go Fish Restaurant. He is currently a chef at Central Market in Dallas.