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Pan Seared Diver Scallops with Toasted Gnocchi, Ham, and Pea Purée

Pan Seared Diver Scallops with Toasted Gnocchi, Ham, and Pea Purée

Pan Seared Diver Scallops with Toasted Gnocchi, Ham, and Pea Purée

Serves Four

Shopping List

16 U10 dry pack diver scallops (4 per person)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter,  ½ inch diced
1 ten-ounce bag of frozen sweet peas (thawed)
4 ounces diced pancetta
1 pack mushrooms  (we used maitake, but any flavorful mushroom will do)
4 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces chicken stock (unseasoned)
Salt (diamond kosher salt)
1 lb potato gnocchi (blanched)

Optional

Micro basil
Parmigiano Reggiano
Lemon wedge

Step 1: Pea Purée

Ingredients

1 ten-ounce bag frozen sweet peas (thawed)
4 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces chicken stock (unseasoned)
Salt (diamond kosher salt)

Equipment

Blender
Spatula
2 quart sauce pan
Spoon for stirring and plating

Directions

Set up the blender and add 4 ounces of chicken stock and 1 ten-ounce package of peas to blender. Cover securely with lid and blend until consistency is smooth, about 45-60 seconds on medium/high. During the last 30 seconds, slowly add 3-4 ounces of cream until the pea purée is evenly blended. Consistency should resemble creamy  mashed potatoes. Set aside in the refrigerator until needed.

Place your saucepan on low-medium heat. Add 2 ounces of cream to pan. Then add pea purée and bring to a low simmer. Make sure you add the cream before the purée to prevent scorching and sticking to bottom of pan. Season to taste with salt.

PRO TIPS: Adding liquids before solids creates a vacuum effect and helps pull the peas toward the blades, enabling the machine to work more efficiently. Pulsing first then moving up speeds prevents overprocessing, especially with green foods. 

Step 2: Toasted Gnocchi, Ham, Pea, and Mushroom Hash

Ingredients

Diamond crystal kosher salt
1 lb of potato gnocchi
1 gallon water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ten-ounce bag frozen sweet peas (thawed)
4 ounces diced pancetta
1 pack cleaned and sliced mushrooms (we used maitake, but any flavorful mushroom will do)

Equipment

8-quart stock pot
Skimmer to lift gnocchi out of the water
Plate
Cast iron saute pan or heavy bottomed nonstick saute pan
Fish spatula
Large bowl spoon

Directions

Part 1

Fill 8-quart stockpot with water. Set burner to high. Allow water to come to a rolling boil. When the water arrives at a rolling boil, add half of the gnocchi to the water. Have your skimmer ready. As soon as the gnocchi floats (after about 45-60 seconds), it’s done. Scoop the floating gnocchi out onto the plate and allow to drain. It is really important that the gnocchi is dry when you add it to the pan in the next step so that it toasts nicely and doesn’t splatter. You can also lightly pat them dry with paper towel. Repeat step with the remainder of the gnocchi and set aside.

PRO TIP: Add salt ½ teaspoon at a time until it tastes like the ocean. Doing this will season the gnocchi as it cooks.

Part 2

Assemble all ingredients and equipment above before beginning this part because it will go very quickly. Don’t be afraid to turn the flame down if the pan gets too hot. Take a large cast iron sauté pan or heavy bottomed nonstick sauté pan and place over a medium flame. After two minutes, add the pancetta to the pan. Render out pancetta until fat is released and pancetta begins to brown. Increase the heat to medium/high, then add 4 ounces of diced butter to the pan. The butter should melt quickly and begin to foam. If it doesn’t, remove the butter and allow the pan to heat up a little more. After about a minute, the foam should dissipate, and the butter should turn golden brown. Add the gnocchi to the pan at this time. Resist the urge to move it around. Allow it to toast for 45 seconds or so then add the mushrooms. Allow toasting to continue for about 45 more seconds. Now add the peas and season with salt, if necessary. Set aside to keep warm on a low flame while searing the scallops.

Step 3: Pan Seared Diver Scallops

Ingredients

16 U10 dry pack diver scallops (4 per person)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon oil

Equipment

12” cast iron sauté pan or heavy bottomed nonstick sauté pan( oven safe)
Fish spatula
Large bowl spoon
Paper towels for drying scallops

Directions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. To get a great caramelized sear on your scallops will require two things: high heat and dry scallops. Prep your scallops by removing the abductor muscle (it is a little rubbery flap attached to the scallop. These are not tasty. They peel right off and can be thrown away. Inspect the scallops for any bits of shell or grit. Once cleaned and inspected, place them on a paper towel. Pat the scallops dry on all sides.

Assemble all ingredients and equipment above before proceeding. It will go very quickly. As before, don’t be afraid to turn the flame down if the pan gets too hot. Take a large cast iron sauté pan or heavy bottomed nonstick sauté pan and set over a medium/high flame. Add oil to the pan. The oil will be hot enough when it begins to swirl and dance in the pan. Add the scallops one at a time in the top 2/3 of the pan. Take care not to crowd the scallops. Resist the urge to move them. Allow the scallops to rest on one place. After a minute or so, you should see a golden brown line creeping up the side of the scallops where they’re touching the pan. Place the entire pan in a 500-degree oven for about 2-3 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and return to the flame. Increase the heat to medium/high, then add 4 ounces of diced butter to the pan. The butter should melt quickly and begin to foam. If it doesn’t, remove the butter and allow the pan to heat up a little more. After about a minute, the foam should dissipate, and the butter should turn golden brown. Baste the scallops with the browned butter for about 1 minute. They should no longer be translucent. Flip them with the fish spatula then place them on a plate, caramel side up.

Plating Like an All-Star Chef

Equipment and Directions

4 warm dinner plates
Hot pea purée
Hot gnocchi, ham, and mushroom hash
Seared scallops

Optional Garnishes

Micro basil
Shaved parmesan shreds
Lemon wedge

Directions

Assemble all of the components together, as the next steps will go quickly. Line up the plates, add a large spoonful of the pea purée to the center of the plate. With the flat of the spoon, flatten the pea puree in an expanding circular motion. This will create a “bowl” to add the hash to. Add ¼ of the hash to each plate, spreading in an even layer in the pea puree “bowl”. Add 4 scallops to each plate. Sprinkle scallops with a few drops of lemon juice, micro basil, and shaved parmesan cheese. Relax and enjoy!

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