{recipe} Seared Sea Scallops with Melted Ginger Leeks and Crispy Mushrooms

This is one of my favorite posts from my previous blog… so I’m reposting it here while I’m on vacation! Enjoy!

I spent a long weekend in the Hamptons with my two very best girlfriends, Lori and Michelle, who sadly (for me) are two displaced California lasses who have decamped to New York City. The reason was ostensibly Lori’s bachelorette party, but it was really just an excuse to spend some quality time together.

I usually don’t make such fancy shmancy stuff, but this was an occasion that called for something special. Plus, I was excited for the opportunity to pick up some incredibly fresh local seafood and build a seasonal meal around it. This dish screams “springtime” and turned out fabulously well, if I do say so myself. And although it seems a little complicated, for me, at least- it was not so very much effort for such an impressive result. When I do buckle down and commit to a more complex or fussy meal, it is really exhilarating when it turns out well, because I sometimes fear that I’m losing my chichi cooking chops by tending almost always towards the simplest types of cooking. This was the first meal that I’ve cooked in quite some time that gave me that “yep, still got it” feeling.

I was loath to put up the recipe because I completely winged it, and don’t have exact measurements, but Lori and Michelle were really hoping to re-create the meal at home, so I’m summoning my best powers of memory and estimation to try and offer you a coherent recipe.

Seared Sea Scallops with Melted Ginger Leeks and Crispy Mushrooms
This is the amount I made for 3 people, but it could serve 2 or 4 if you just adjust the scallop amounts- the mushrooms and leeks will be an OK amount either way. I served it with asparagus risotto.

Ingredients:

  • a couple Tblsp butter
  • a couple Tblsp olive oil
  • ½ pound oyster mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped finely
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peel on, sliced
  • 9 fresh large sea scallops, rinsed and dried well
  • 2 medium-sized leeks, cut in thin slices
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:

  • Put about 1 Tblsp olive oil and 1 Tblsp butter in a sauté pan and heat over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and season with a lot of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until small and dark brown and crispy. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  • Return mushroom pan to medium high heat and add ½ cup wine. Cook until almost completely evaporated.
  • Add cream and cook until bubbling. Turn off heat and add ginger. Set aside.
  • Season scallops with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Put about 1 Tblsp butter and 1 Tblsp olive oil  in a sauté pan over high heat. When hot,  place scallops in pan, flat side down. Cook about 3 minutes per side, until nice and crispy brown on each side. Remove to plate. (Remember that the scallops will continue to cook a bit after removing from pan, so it’s better to err on the side of undercooking rather than overcooking.) Remove to a plate and set aside to rest.
  • In a small pan, heat about 2 tsp olive oil and add shallots. Saute until soft but not brown.
  • Add leeks and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  Add ¼ cup wine and cook until almost evaporated.
  • Discard ginger pieces from cream. Pour cream over leeks. Cook about 2-3 minutes, until leeks are soft.
  • To plate, pull out some leeks with tongs and make a bed on the plate. Place 3 scallops on top. Pour a little bit of the leek cream over the top of the scallops. Sprinkle with a handful of mushrooms.
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