Scallops with Sweet Potato Puree and Braised Beets

Recipe from Chef Matt Kern of Heirloom, Lewes, Delaware

Cooking scallops is all about patience and a watchful eye. Use “dry scallops” or scallops that have never been frozen, or they won’t sear properly. You will also want a good dry towel to soak up any residual moisture on the scallop itself.

By / Photography By Deny Howeth | November 21, 2018

Ingredients

SERVINGS: 2 Serving(s)
Sweet Potato Puree
  • 2 cups thinly sliced yam or sweet potato
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced white onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Kosher salt to taste
Braised Beets
  • 1 pound gold beets
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6-8 sprigs thyme
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Watercress and Candy-Stripe Beets to garnish
  • Lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil for dressing
  • Kosher salt to taste
Scallops
  • 8 scallops, U-10 dry pack
  • 6 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons good unsalted butter
  • A few sprigs of thyme

Preparation

Sweet Potato Puree

In an 8-quart pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and lightly saute without caramelizing. Once garlic and onion are soft, add sweet potato and reduce heat to medium. While constantly stirring, add brown sugar and spices to the pot. As soon as potatoes are soft, add white wine and stir until liquid is almost dissolved. Add heavy cream and reduce heat to a low simmer. Once potatoes are falling apart, turn off heat and let stand. Carefully pour mixture into a good blender, such as a Vitamix. Begin to puree on low and slowly bring blender speed to medium high. Slowly drizzle 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil directly into the spinning puree to emulsify (this makes the sauce extra smooth!) Pass puree through a fine strainer. Season with kosher salt to your liking. Puree will hold refrigerated for up to 5 days; just reheat slowly on low heat while constantly mixing.

Braised Beets

Preheat oven to 350°. Place all ingredients, except garnish, in an oven-safe casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for about 1 ½ hours or until a knife will pass easily through the center of the beets. Remove beets from braising liquid and let cool to room temperature. With a towel, carefully rub outside of the beets to remove the skin. Cut beets to desired size, wash watercress, and shave candy-stripe beets paper thin. Reserve until ready to build your dish, along with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.

Scallops

Lightly season scallops with kosher salt on the side you will be searing. Bring cast iron pan to a medium high heat. Carefully drizzle oil into the pan and watch for smoke. When smoke appears, immediately place scallops, seasoned side down, into the pan and reduce heat to low right away (a technique called pan control). Watch very closely for a beautiful gold brown to appear along the bottom of your scallops. The idea is to cook scallops 75% of the way on this side. Once a golden-brown crust has formed, flip scallops carefully. Add the butter and thyme, and begin to baste with a metal spoon for about 30 seconds. Remove scallops from pan and transfer to a paper towel to pat dry. Serve immediately.

Final Dish

It is best to have all of your components ready to assemble to have the best success with this dish. Once scallops are cooked, I would have a medium heat on a nonstick pan and start to caramelize the beets. One warmed through, transfer to a bowl and toss with watercress and shaved candy-stripe beets. Lightly dress these components like a salad with just a few drops of olive oil and lemon juice, and salt to taste. Then plate the warm sweet potato puree by smearing it onto the surface, topping with the warm beet mixture. Then place the scallops and garnish with a few fried beet chips. This dish is gluten free and a perfect representation of seasonal cuisine!

 

Ingredients

SERVINGS: 2 Serving(s)
Sweet Potato Puree
  • 2 cups thinly sliced yam or sweet potato
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced white onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Kosher salt to taste
Braised Beets
  • 1 pound gold beets
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6-8 sprigs thyme
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Watercress and Candy-Stripe Beets to garnish
  • Lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil for dressing
  • Kosher salt to taste
Scallops
  • 8 scallops, U-10 dry pack
  • 6 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons good unsalted butter
  • A few sprigs of thyme