Sea Scallops with Mashed Potatoes and a Red Onion Confit
From Cooking with Daniel Boulud, by Daniel Boulud (Random House, 1993)
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 4 Servings

This earthy recipe features large scallops in a casual dish ideal for an informal fall gathering. You can prepare the potato purée up to 2 hours beforehand, but the scallops should he cooked just before serving. Shrimp can be substituted for the scallops in this recipe.


  • 1 pound baking potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • cup sweet butter, at room temperature
  • cup heavy cream, warmed
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups red onions, peeled and thinly diced
  • 3 Tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 16 jumbo sea scallops, cleaned and patted dry
  • cup flour (Wondra, if possible)
  • cup chicken stock
  • 4 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, leaves only, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the diced potatoes in a pot over high heat with 2 quarts water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil and boil until done, about 20 minutes. Drain and mash the potatoes through a sieve or food mill into the top of a double boiler. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the warm heavy cream and stir until smooth Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. To keep the mashed potatoes warm until ready to serve, place the double boiler (with hot water in the bottom pot) over very low heat. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper, and sweat until very soft. Add 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar. Cook until the onions start to caramelize, about 10 to 15 minutes. When brown, remove and set aside.

Preheat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Salt and pepper each scallop and dredge with flour, shaking off any excess. Add tablespoon of the butter to the hot pan. Add the scallops and sauté them for 2 minutes on each side. Sprinkle on the remaining tablespoon of vinegar, add the chicken stock, toss well, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the scallops from the pan, reduce the sauce by half, and stir in the remaining tablespoon of the butter. Test for seasoning and sprinkle with of the chopped parsley.

To serve, spread the onions on the bottom of a warmed shallow dish or serving plate. Spoon mashed potatoes over the onions and place the scallops on top. Spoon the sauce over the scallops. Sprinkle with the rest of the chopped parsley.


Updated: October 2004