Inspired by Good Fish by Becky Selengut
SERVES 4 AS AN APPETIZER
About ten years ago, at Tulio Ristorante in downtown Seattle, I had a memorable pasta dish featuring the herb marjoram; it was just a small, fragrant amount tossed with butter and fresh pasta, but so many years later I can still smell its perfume.
Oregano’s sexier sister, as marjoram is sometimes called, is also a favorite of Jerry Traunfeld, former executive chef at The Herbfarm Restaurant, who taught me to combine it with carrots. There is something about the earthy sweetness of carrots paired with the delicate pine notes of marjoram that really works. The addition of sweet, briny scallops to that already solid combination blows this dish right out of the water.
For the carrot cream:
1/2 pound carrots, cut into large
dice (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cream
Freshly ground pepper
For the pickled carrots:
1 large carrot, sliced into short
ribbons using a vegetable
peeler (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine
For the scallops:
1 pound Vital Choice sea scallops
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon high-heat vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Herb Oil (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon marjoram leaves, for garnish
To prepare the carrot cream, add the carrots and salt to a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Drain the carrots and add them to a blender along with the cream and a pinch of pepper to taste. Blend until the mixture is a very smooth purée and set aside.
To prepare the pickled carrots, in a medium bowl, toss the carrots with the rice wine vinegar. Marinate the carrots for at least 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the vinegar for another use, and set aside.
To prepare the scallops, dry them with paper towels. Place them on a plate and “season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat. Add the vegetable oil and, when it is really hot, carefully add the scallops to the pan, being careful not to splatter oil on yourself or crowd the pan with too many scallops. Cook the scallops for 2 minutes on one side without disturbing them, or until they are caramelized, then flip, cooking the other side for only a minute or so more.
To assemble the dish, gently reheat the carrot cream, then spoon some on each of 4 plates. Top each plate with several scallops. Drizzle some Herb Oil around the scallops and garnish with a sprinkling of pickled carrots and marjoram leaves.
About Becky Selengut
Becky Selengut is a private chef, author (Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook, Good Fish), columnist (Edible Seattle) and cooking teacher. She worked for 3 years at the internationally acclaimed Herbfarm Restaurant under her mentor, Chef Jerry Traunfeld before setting out on her own to start Cornucopia, her private chef and education business.
She's at work on her third cookbook, "Shroom: Mind-bendingly good recipes for wild and cultivated mushrooms" (Andrews McMeel Fall 2014).
Learn more at cornucopiacuisine.com.