Host a garden party with ideas from my July 2010 column on The Family Groove.
Seared Scallops Over Basil-Pea Puree April 30, 2009
This dish tastes like spring on a plate. It’s sophisticated, yet so simple. It’s a great recipe for entertaining because it can be made in minutes. Serve it as an entrée, or serve a smaller version (3 scallops per plate) as a first course.
The basil-pea puree can be made up to 8 hours ahead and warmed as the scallops cook. If you are short on time you can skip the oven-dried tomatoes, thought they really are worth the minimal effort but advance planning required. The slow oven drying process really concentrates the flavor of the tomatoes, but you can substitute a few raw tomato wedges instead to achieve the same pop of color.
Serve this entrée with herb popovers or crusty bread so you can scoop up the last of the basil-pea puree. Trust me, you won’t want to waste a single bite.
Seared Scallops Over Basil Pea Puree
1 package grape tomatoes or 6 plum tomatoes
(2) 10oz packages frozen peas or 4 C. fresh shelled peas
4 Tbs. fresh basil (about 12 large leaves)
½ tsp. kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
15 large sea scallops, patted completely dry
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half and place cut side up on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or coated with a nonstick spray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Place in oven for 2-2.5 hours, or until the tomatoes are shriveled and dry with a tiny bit of juice left inside. Tomatoes can be oven-dried up to 2 days in advance.
2. Place thawed peas in a colander and rinse with cold water. Shake to remove excess water. Add peas to blender with fresh basil, salt and pepper. Puree peas until smooth. To heat pea puree, place in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once warmed through, reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Once hot, coat pan with olive oil. Add scallops to pan in a single layer with room between each scallop. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the size. Scallops should have a nice crust on both sides and be barely firm to the touch. (Do not overcook the scallops or they will become rubbery.) Serve immediately over basil-pea puree and garnish with oven-dried tomatoes.