This dish is so simple and elegant. It’s perfect for the warm weather I hope we will all enjoy soon. We made so many beautiful and delicious dishes as part of our introduction to Plating and Presentation. This module in culinary school is exciting and very challenging for me. I am definitely out of my comfort zone. I don’t know if I have the eye or the gift to make plates as beautiful as the ones you see in fine dining restaurants. Where should the little squiggle of sauce go? What’s the perfect place for that extra piece of garnish? I have no idea! It’s kind of stressing me out!
Thankfully, we have a great instructor who does know, Chef James Briscione. Before teaching at our school Chef James worked at one of the most amazing French restaurants in New York City, Daniel. He also won Food Network’s Chopped two times (my kids and I are addicted to that show), is an expert in modernist techniques, including Sous Vide, and co-authored a cookbook with his wife, Just Married and Cooking. We really are getting great chefs at ICE. You know how much I absolutely loved learning from Chef Ted. I feel very fortunate.
Back to squiggles and garnish. If you want to see all of the dishes we made this week, I posted them here. I was having a hard time deciding which recipe to share today. Ultimately, I was torn between this scallop dish and the seared tuna. It’s hard to find sushi grade tuna so I went with this one. In school, we made an herb coulis to squiggle around the plate which made it fancy and beautiful. I’m not messing with that when the kids are circling around me in the kitchen. I just added some fennel fronds for garnish. I made a citrus vinaigrette with the juice from the blood orange and grapefruit and tossed it over some organic mixed greens with feta cheese to serve with dinner. I still had more juice and fruit leftover. I may just make a cocktail with it tomorrow!
I hope you enjoy this recipe. I love how it highlights the natural flavors of the few ingredients used.
- 8 large sea scallops, tendons removed
- canola oil, for pan frying
- 1 large fennel, frond cut of and reserved for garnish
- 1 blood orange, cut into supremes (skin off, cut out in-between the white sections)
- ½ small grapefruit, cut into supremes
- olive oil, to drizzle over fennel
- 2 T butter (or more, if needed)
- salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit
- Rinse sea scallops, line on parchment paper and put in refrigerator to dry, uncovered, until ready to cook
- Cut fennel head into quarters from the top to the bottom. Cut each quarter into 3 pieces the long way (see picture)
- Line fennel on a baking sheet, covered in foil and drizzle olive oil on top. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 for about 40-45 minutes, turning halfway through and making sure it does not brown too much
- In the meantime, cut the blood orange and grapefruit and reserve in their juice.
- When the fennel is close to being ready, you should heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan when it is hot.
- Make sure the scallops are dry (you can pat them with a paper towel), season with salt and pepper and sear on both sides until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
- Once browned a little bit, drain some of the canola oil and add in the butter. Using a large serving spoon, continuously pour the melted butter over the top of the scallops to brown them evenly with the side that is down. You should do this until the scallops are cooked through but not dried out, about 2-3 minutes more. Careful not to burn the scallops. Turn down the heat a little, if needed.
- Plate as pictured using the citrus supremes and fennel frond as garnish.