A while back, I decided to make Pan-Roasted Maine Jumbo Scallops with Morel Mushrooms and Asparagus Purée. I've been so busy I haven't had time to post until today. This is a great dish because it is simple and takes < 30 minutes to prepare. I would actually make this again for dinner.
The most expensive ingredient in this dish was the morel mushrooms. I couldn't find them fresh anywhere -- I tried Whole Foods, Dean and Deluca, Dartagnon's, the Union Square Farmer's Market, and some other places -- and I could only find them dried. So I settled on a 0.5 oz bag of morels for $10.99 (!). Ouch.
I did some research on Wikipedia to learn a little bit about morels. Here's what I learned:
Morels are of the genus Morchella, a genus of edible mushrooms. They appear honeycomb-like with a network of ridges with pits between them. They are highly prized in French cuisine for their unique taste and the joy of the hunt. They are also called dryland fish, hickory chickens, merkels or miracles.
Anyway. Back to the recipe.
First step, I reconstituted the dried morels by soaking them in several changes of warm water (also to clean them).
After they soaked and became tender, I simmered them in chicken stock until tender and then cut them into dice.
Here's the mise en place for the morel mushroom sauce:
Morels, butter, thyme, garlic, shallot, chives, Brunoise, tomato diamonds, and asparagus. Actually, I lied. I forgot about the tomatoes and I just served them without it. Oopsie.
I sauteed this in butter. Mmmmmm, what a great smell.
I added the beurre monte to complete the sauce:
Next, I took the middle third of the asparagus stalks and blanched them in boiling water until tender. I removed them to an ice bath afterwards.
I pureed the stalks in a blender with a little stock and then set it over a tamis to slowly drain.
Then, I pushed it through to puree it.
I also cooked the top third of the asparagus stalks in boiling water (I discarded the bottom third). Here I am reheating them in some beurre monte.
Last step! I heat up some oil in a skillet and cooked the scallops. I actually cooked them longer than the 1-2 minutes recommended in the book because they were still a wan white color after 2 minutes. They took more like 3 minutes to brown nicely. Indeed, the insides were still nice and rare.
Plating time! First, the asparagus puree:
Then a spoonful of the morel mushroom sauce:
Then some asparagus tips:
Finally, some scallops on top. The book suggests one scallop per dish but I was hungry so I gave myself four per plate.
A great dish, so easy to make, and very delicious. I haven't had scallops this good in a long time, even at a lot of restaurants. I'd definitely make this again. (Hint, hint: Anyone who wants me to... If you buy the ingredients, I'll make this for you anytime you want!)
Scallops from Bor-Kee Food Market Inc.
Morels and Produce from Whole Foods