Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TFL- Pan Roasted Scallops with Morel Mushrooms and Asparagus Puree

I've stopped numbering The French Laundry posts, math confuses me as I've told you before. Anyway, here we are with MORE asparagus. It will be a miracle if I don't have gout before March Madness ends. I finally saw fresh Morels in the market and knew this was on the menu. Morels, like Truffles and Chanterelles (I'm pretty sure about Chanterelles) cannot be cultivated; they must be harvested in the wild. Because of that, they are rather rare and very, very seasonal, and thus, quite pricey. $39.99/lb on these babies.

This was fewer than the recipe requires but rather than make 6 small plate servings (as would be appropriate for a 9 course meal) I went heavy on the scallops per plate and this was the right amount of morels for us; this was our supper.  Besides... $39.99/lb!  Not truffletastic but wallet shrinking nonetheless.
OK so you soak them in 2 changes of water and then cook them in a bit of broth until tender and then dice them. I did this ahead of time. Sorry I don't have a picture of the diced morels worthy of posting.
On with the rest of the mise en place... One of these days I'll get educated and fancy and be able to post text onto photos and save a lot of this verbage....

Up there we have a ton of brunoise (carrot, turnip and dark leek leaves -- I only needed 2 T) we have tomato diamonds, which actually look more like squares, asparagus tips, minced mushrooms, 2 cloves smashed garlic, 1 T minced shallots, asparagus stalks and chicken broth. All veggies except the garlic and shallots have been blanched and then put into an ice bath to preserve color.

We also have thyme and some chives from my garden!! YAY Spring:

Of course the recipe also calls for a lot of butter, some kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper... Oh and don't forget the canola oil (gotta watch those calories LOL) and what else??? Scallops!

After mincing the chives, I pureed the asparagus stalks with a few T of broth. Then I set the puree into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl for excess liquid to drain.

Then I rinsed and trimmed the scallops, dried them and seasoned them. Bad picture, I know.. waiting for my birthday :)   when the camera fairy will visit me!

The remaining steps I failed to photograph until the final plating. Everything comes together very quickly at the end of this recipe. The morels, garlic and thyme are sauteed in butter about 2 minutes, then the garlic and thyme are removed, chives, shallots and brunoise added, cooked a couple of minutes then kept warm. Separately, the asparagus tips and tomato square-diamond-polygons are warmed in some more butter, set aside and kept warm. Thirdly, the asparagus puree is warmed with buerre monte and set aside and kept warm.  If you haven't run out of burners of pans yet, there is one final step: heat 1/8 in canola oil in a medium sautee pan over med-high heat. Cook the scallops about 2 min per side, until nicely browned.

Now to the plating: first asparagus puree, then morel-brunoise-shallot-chive mix, then scallops, then garnish with tips and tomato pieces (2nd pic).

 I'm really disappointed in these pictures. I shot 5 of each plate, so 10 total and these were the only ones I would post.  I'll get better! Just as I have gotten better at cooking ( most days). BUT this isn't a photo or food styling blog! I am generally not a seafood fan, but the whole purpose of this project was to help me stretch my boundaries. I have to say this dish was delicious and really very beautiful! The combination of flavors was just perfect. The texture of the slightly crunchy brunoise and tips contrasted well with the silky and soft puree and scallops. This is a definite do again... If I can use less expensive mushrooms. : )

See you soon!  Oh! and if you have trouble commenting, just try pressing "post comment" a second time. That usually works for me.


  1. lol we mushroom hunt for morels here.

  2. And TYVM Loren since you are the one who posts 99% of my comments. I really appreciate it

  3. I posted an earlier comment that isn't appearing now.... Send me Morels!!!!