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Seared Scallops with Carrot Cream and Marjoram

Recipe by Becky Selengut
Inspired by Good Fish by Becky Selengut. Notes Chef Selengut: "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." Recipe serves four as an appetizer; two as an entrée.
Yield: Serves 2
Total Time: 80 min
Prep: 40 min
Cook: 20 min
Additional: 20 min
½ pound carrots, cut into large dice (about 2 cups)
½ cup cream
1 large carrot, sliced into short ribbons using a vegetable peeler (about 1 cup)
¼ cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¾ cup packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves
1.  Make the carrot cream: Add the diced carrots and 1 teaspoon 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.
2.  Make the pickled carrots: In a medium bowl, toss the carrot ribbons with the rice wine vinegar. Marinate the carrots for at least 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the vinegar for another use, and set aside.
3.  Make the herb oil: In a blender, combine the parsley, marjoram, 1/2 cup oil and salt. Blend until the oil turns a vibrant green color, about 3 minutes. You can strain the oil through a fine-mesh strainer if you'd like or leave it with some texture. Transfer the oil to a bowl, or if you'd like to be all fancy-pants, feel free to transfer it to a squeeze bottle.
4.  Dry the scallops 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.
5.  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.
6.  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 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.

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