1st Place StarChefs.com Innovative Almond-Recipe Competition, Sponsored by Almond Board of California
2 cups peeled and medium diced English cucumbers
1 cup medium diced stale grapes
½ cup bread
¼ cup minced almonds, toasted
½ tablespoon garlic
¼ cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon almond oil
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
½ tablespoon honey
8 ounces unsalted butter, diced
½ cup nonfat milk powder
½ cup smoked almonds, crushed
½ ounce unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 sprigs thyme
8 large (U-12) sea scallops, tab removed
For the White Gazpacho:
In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, grapes, almonds, garlic, and bread and season with salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours and up to 24; purée. Strain puréed mixture through chinois into large bowl. Stir in yogurt, oil, vinegar, and honey until combined; chill.
For the Smoked Almond-Brown Butter Crumble:
In a saucepan over low heat, combine butter and milk powder. Stir constantly until mixture separates and milk solids are brown and have a nutty aroma, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in almonds, and season with salt. Let cool at least 30 minutes. Drain solids with chinois, reserving “crumble” and setting aside clarified butter for another purpose.
To Assemble and Serve
Heat butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and thyme and swirl butter in pan to infuse. Pat scallops dry, season with salt and pepper, and sear on each side 1 to 2 minutes, basting with butter. (The scallops should have a ¼-inch golden crust on each side while remaining translucent in the center.) Spoon White Gazpacho on serving plate. Top with two scallops. Sprinkle Smoked Almond-Brown Butter Crumble over scallops. Garnish with pea shoots.