As the first season of Chopped Canada draws to a close, I was getting a little worried that another chef from my home base (Calgary) was not going to end up a Chopped Champion. Luckily, cookbook author and Top Chef Canada alumnus, Pierre Lamielle, stayed creative throughout last week’s episode and outlasted his competition. Phew!
This week, we’re working with scallops, a great ocean protein that always hits the spot regardless of the time of year. When you’re shopping around for these guys, head to a local seafood shop and chat with the monger to make sure you’re going to be cooking with something sustainable and fresh.
When scallops are going to be the star of a dish, they are going to need a good sear. A scallop without a good sear is like a lasagna without cheese. It just doesn’t work. Get your pan nice and hot, add a little oil that can handle the heat like camelina oil and then add the scallops. If you don’t hear a sizzle immediately, you didn’t let that pan get hot enough!
The apricot and caper salsa here would be great on any fish you might be grilling this summer as well. So, if you’re planking some salmon on the barbecue, try throwing a spoonful or two on top before serving.
Seared Scallops with Ginger Carrot Pureé and Apricot Caper Salsa
Yields: 2 servings
Total cook time: 30 minutes
1 tablespoon camelina oil
Ginger carrot puree ingredients:
3 large carrots, quartered
1 yellow onion, halved and peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons grainy dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Apricot caper salsa ingredients:
1 fresh apricot, stoned and minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon capers, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Ginger carrot puree directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place carrots and onions on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
3. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.
4. Once carrots and onions are done roasting, transfer to blender along with remaining ingredients and puree until very smooth.
5. Pour into a medium pot and keep warm on stove until ready to serve.
Apricot caper salsa directions:
1. Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.
2. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
Scallops and plating directions:
1. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat until very hot.
2. Sear scallops on both sides until a golden crust forms, approximately 1 ½ minutes per side.
3. To plate, spoon some of the carrot puree onto a plate, place 3 scallops on top of puree and top with apricot caper salsa.
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.