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Scallops with Shiitake Sauce (and Chocolate Avocado Pudding)

May 23rd, 2012 at 20:28

Today was a gorgeous day–one of those foggy late spring mornings that clears to a lovely, warm, sunny afternoon. I got a text from my husband that we absolutely needed to eat dinner outside on the back patio. Thankfully, I’d planned to make something that would go well outside and in. I am working my way through a freezer full of seafood to make room for a side of beef in July, so scallops it was. And I had some shiitake mushrooms from our organic produce delivery service, Green Bean Delivery. Some googling around and I had a plan.

First off, even the best scallops are likely going to be treated with a saline solution that makes them really difficult to sear. It also gives them an off taste. So unless you’re lucky enough to get dry scallops fresh off the boat, you’re going to want to brine them. For two pounds of scallops, soak them in a mixture of a quart of water, two tablespoons of salt, and a quarter-cup of lemon juice for 30 minutes. After that, put them on a plate between paper towels (I use 10) with a weight on top for another 30 minutes.

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While they’re soaking and draining, get your veggies prepped. I served these over zucchini noodles. Using a mandoline slicer or julienne peeler, cut zucchini into thin strips. Once you start to see the seeds, stop. This bowl is the end result of five medium zucchini.

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Prep your shiitake mushrooms. You’ll want to cut off the stems if yours came with them, as they’re pretty woody. You’ll want to end up with about this much, which will yield about two cups when sliced.

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Finely mince a shallot until you have about two tablespoons of them. Set them aside with the mushrooms. You’ll also want 3/4 cups of sparkling white wine (I used vinho verde, because it’s what I had on hand), a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a pinch of dried tarragon, two pinches of kosher salt, and 1/3 cup of sour cream.

Now you’re ready to cook. In a large Dutch oven, heat up a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Put your zucchini strips in the coconut oil, and your scallops, which will likely require 2 batches, in the skillet. The zucchini will just need to stir until it takes on the texture of cooked pasta, at which point you can salt it to taste and add a bit of Parmesan or garlic if you want. The scallops should sear for about 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.

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When the scallops are done, put them on a plate. Add the shiitakes and shallots and sauté them for three minutes or so, until the mushrooms release their liquid and it evaporates.

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Add the wine, Dijon, tarragon, and salt. Scrape up all the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Let it boil a bit, then turn the heat all the way down to low and whisk in the sour cream. Serve scallops with the sauce over the zucchini noodles and enjoy a nice spring evening.

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For dessert (and I apologize for getting no pictures of this), I had an avocado to use up, so I decided to finally experiment with chocolate avocado pudding. It really couldn’t be easier. For two adults and a preschooler, you’ll want to blend together one ripe avocado with two tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/4 cup nut butter (I used almond), 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar, 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of kosher salt. Once it’s blended, put it in your ramekins or bowls and stick it in the fridge until it’s ready to eat.

  • http://twitter.com/domesticrat Chris

    You have to brine the scallops! Magic! I love you for this. 

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