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Patricia Yeo
rising stars
November 2002 NEW YORK
Crisped Scallops with Clam Chowder Potato Mash and Salsa Verde
Patricia Yeo, AZ-New York, NY
Adapted by StarChefs


Soft, sweet, briny, and sexy - those are the words that come to mind when I'm creating a dish with scallops. Everyone loves them, especially when that tender interior is surrounded by a crisp golden-brown crust. And it's easy to do; you just have to resist the temptation to move the scallops around as they cook. See the recipe for more advice on this - it's a useful cooking lesson to absorb.

I like to leave the browned scallops plain and simple, but contrast them with a powerful, green, herb-rich sauce. When the heat of the scallops hits the parsley, chives, and garlic, the whole dish comes to life. My addition to this traditional salsa verde is minced apple, celery, and cucumber for crunch, making the sauce act a little bit like a salad.

Sommelier Warner Strejan's Suggested Wine Pairing:
San Gregario,Fiano di Avelino, Campania, Italy

Yield:
4 servings

Salsa verde:

  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup chopped fresh chives
  • ½ cup chopped fresh chervil
  • ¼ cup chopped fennel fronds (optional)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 apple, peeled, and finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 anchovy filets, finely minced
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To finish the dish:

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 16 large scallops, well drained
  • Clam Chowder Potato Mash (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup mixed herb sprigs, such as parsley, chervil, tarragon, and cilantro (use at least 2 kinds)

Salsa verde: Just before serving, combine all the ingredients very well and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Scallops: Heat a large cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the scallops to the pan and let sear undisturbed until they develop a crust, about 3-5 minutes depending on their size. (I know it's hard, but don't move the scallops around in the pan! At first they will stick, but soon a crust will form and the scallops will release on their own.) Cook until the bottoms are mahogany brown, then turn and cook another 2 minutes on the other side.

To serve, scoop some mash into the center of a shallow bowl. Place 4 scallops around the mash, then spoon salsa verde over the scallops. Place a small mound of herb salad in the center.

Clam Chowder Potato Mash

It's very rare that a chef comes up with something truly new (we all borrow constantly from one another and from the past), but I do believe that this is a unique creation. It has all the flavors of a delicious New England clam chowder (smoky bacon, briny clams, starchy potatoes, and aromatic celery), but stirred together in a chunky, creamy potato purée. The clam flavor comes from clam juice; there are no clams in the recipe. It makes a wonderful side dish for any simple fish dish.

Yield: 4 servings

  • ½ cup diced bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 large Yukon gold or other boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the bacon in a medium-size heavy pot and heat it over high heat. Cook, stirring often, until the white fat has rendered (become liquid) and the bacon pieces are sizzling and just beginning to turn golden. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the potatoes and clam juice, bring to a simmer, and simmer uncovered until the potatoes are very tender. Raise the temperature to high, stirring until the liquid evaporates and the mixture is creamy and lumpy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep hot, or reheat before serving.

 
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