by Chef Michael Salmon
Diver scallops in Maine are some of the best you will find anywhere in the world. The term “diver scallops” refers to a scallop that was harvested by an actual person diving to the bottom of the ocean and hand harvesting usually only the larger specimens. This yields a much cleaner and more uniformed product than the large and destructive draggers can conjure up. Diver scallops are also sold “dry”, which means they have not been soaked in water or a preservative to extend their shelf life.
Seared Sea Scallops with Spring Pea Cream and Smoked Salmon
Michael Salmon, In The Kitchen with Michael Salmon
2 Tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup, plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and soft
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup shelled fresh peas (or frozen)
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
2 pounds large sea scallops
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 Tablespoon chopped chives for garnish
4 ounces smoked salmon
Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil and the minced shallot and stir for 30 seconds. Deglaze with the white wine and reduce until it is almost dry. Add the cream and reduce by half, until the sauce thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the ¼ cup of soft butter. Add the lemon juice and season with a pinch of white pepper and salt to taste. Cover and reserve in a warm place.
If you are using fresh peas, place them in a small saucepan with the remaining Tablespoon of butter and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for about 3 minutes. For frozen peas, simply heat them in a pan with the butter. Season with salt and white pepper.
Place half of the warm peas in a blender with the sauce and blend until smooth. Cover and reserve in a warm place. Cover the remaining peas and reserve in a warm place as well.
Remove and discard the side muscle from the scallops. Season the sea scallops with salt and white pepper. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons canola oil and heat. Gently lay the scallops in the hot oil and sear on each side for about 2 minutes, browning them well. If the scallops are real large, it may be necessary to reduce the heat at this point and cover the pan with foil to cook them through.
To serve, place a mound of mashed potatoes in the center of the serving plate. Arrange the scallops around the potatoes and drizzle with the pea cream. Sprinkle with the remaining peas and the chopped chives. Drape a few slices of smoked salmon over the scallops and serve with vegetables of your choice.