So today is my son’s 8th birthday! It’s been a wild and crazy week leading up to his birthday. No party due to covid, no small celebration with neighbors due to the snowstorm. He’s been in good spirits and knows this will pass and at least we are all safe and sound. He has such a big heart and open mind. I wanted to share a picture, but I don’t like that people take my post for their own personal gain so I won’t be sharing anymore photos of him.

He wants to be a chef when he grows up so this is a meal we made together before the snow storm came. He loves steak and scallops like his momma so this was a great meal!

You mostly see these “smears” in fancy restaurants. They are so easy to do and make your photos look like you went out to eat. I just did one swipe, but you could do individual spoonful under each scallop.

Seared Scallops Over Parsnip Purée
(Adapted from Viktorias Table)

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1 lbs fresh sea scallops *
1 lbs parsnips
2 cups milk (plus more if needed)
2 Tbs avocado/grapeseed oil
2 Tbs butter
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper
2-3 Tbs pine nuts

Peel and chop the parsnips, and place in a saucepan with the milk. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the parsnips are soft.

Put the parsnips and all the liquid into a blender, with a pinch of salt, pepper and freshly ground nutmeg, and blend until smooth. Add more milk if needed. Keep warm.

Pat dry your scallops really well, and leave uncovered to further air dry for 30 minutes or so.

Heat 1 tbs of the oil in a cast iron pan until almost smoking, and gently add half of the scallops in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the top side. Sear for 2-3 minutes without stirring, until the bottom is deeply browned, and the scallops are almost all the way cooked through. Add 1 Tbs of butter to the pan, and flip the scallops over. Add salt and pepper on the other side, and cook for another minute, while basting the scallops with the butter. Remove to a plate, and keep warm while you cook the other half using the rest of the oil and butter.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the pine nuts to the pan, with the remaining oil. Toast for a few minutes until golden.

Serve the scallops atop the parsnip puree, sprinkle the pine nuts on top, and add some more freshly ground nutmeg. Add fresh herbs if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • Check with your store if the scallops are ‘wet’ (previously soaked in a chemical bath so they can swell, and gain water-weight, and extend their shelf life), or ‘dry’ (not treated with anything). Ideally you want to use dry but the majority I’ve seen in stores are chemically treated! The ‘dry’ ones should look slightly pinkish, while the ‘wet’ scallops are bright white in color.

Apart from the added chemicals problem, the ‘wet’ scallops have a washed out, soapy taste, and may release all of that absorbed liquid, while you cook them, resulting in smaller, tougher scallops that cannot develop a perfectly seared, crispy crust.

If you can’t get ‘dry’ scallops, soak the ‘wet’ ones in a solution of 1 quart water, 2 Tbs sea salt and 1/4 cup lemon juice for 30 minutes, to get rid of the chemical taste, and improve their sear quality.

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