Monday, February 23, 2015

Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Sweet Potato Mash and Burnt Sage Butter Drizzle... and Changes...

Nothing really ever remains the same, does it?

So many of my friends and family are going through major life changes right now. A dear friend is moving, having sold her home after some 20 years.. she is busy packing and sorting and reliving memories of raising her two children in their family home.

My amazing sister is moving into a smaller home with her two boys.

A long time friend has bought her first home and is moving after 18 years in her apartment.

Yet another dear friend has taken on a new job.

And me, well... things keep changing and I'm realizing the truth behind the old adage "the only thing that remains the same is change".

One thing that won't change is my love of Sea Scallops ((Placopecten magellanicus). They are a virtual blank canvas that can be pared with countless ingredients and endless cooking techniques. Rice, potatoes, vegetables, salad, stir fried, broiled, baked, grilled, seared, you name it, a beautiful, fresh, plump scallop can handle it. Here is one of my favorite presentations of these lovely mollusks.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops (with sweet potato mash and burnt sage butter drizzle): (serves 2)

For the scallops:

1/2 pound (6 to 8) large wild caught sea scallops (muscle removed)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
drizzle of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon powdered sage

For the sweet potato mash:

2 medium sweet potatoes
drizzle of milk or half and half
pat of unsalted butter
salt and pepper to season

Wash and prick the sweet potatoes. Microwave on high about 6 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. When cool enough to handle, peel and mash with the back of a fork. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons milk or half and half and a pat of butter and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. You can make this ahead and reheat in the microwave.

Make the scallops:

Remove scallops from fridge 20 minutes before preparing them.

Pat the scallops dry (very important) with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter with the oil over medium high heat in a medium saute pan (big enough so as not to crowd the scallops). When the butter/oil is very hot, add the scallops. Pan sear for about 3 minutes or until carmelized on one side (if the scallop is sticking, wait for a minute, cooked food does not stick). Turn and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove scallops from pan. Stir sage into pan.


Place a dollop (1/2 cup or so) of sweet potato mash in center of plate. Top with 3-4 scallops, drizzle with sage butter.

As always, Bon Appetite.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Almond Crusted Chicken and Nectarine Salad with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing and Friends

I was overjoyed to catch up on the phone with a very dear friend the other day. She is one of those friends that months can go by without speaking but we are able to pick up the thread of our friendship in a heartbeat. Do you know what I mean? She asked me when I was going to start posting recipes again and I promised I would .... so this one's for you Maureen, my dear friend.

Almond Crusted Chicken and Nectarine Salad with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing: (serves 4)


1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl combine the buttermilk, sour cream, vinegar and honey. Slowly whisk in the oil to blend. Whisk in the chives, season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

The Chicken:

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups almonds (raw, unsalted)
1/2 cup flour
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pound)
salt and pepper
vegetable or canola oil for shallow frying

Set up your breading station. In a shallow bowl (such as a pie plate) beat the eggs.
In your food processor, grind the almonds, add the flour and pulse a few times.
Place the nut/flour mixture in another shallow bowl.

Slice the chicken breasts into strips about 1 1/2 inches wide and pound slightly. Season with salt and pepper, dredge in egg, then the nut/flour mixture. Place on wire rack set over rimmed cookie sheet and allow to "dry". Repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Throw away any nut/flour mixture and egg that may be left.

Heat oil in frying pan (about 1/2 an inch of oil) Working in batches, fry the chicken strips until golden (about 4 minutes per side). Remove to brown paper bags to drain, then place on a rack set over a cookie sheet* and place in a warm oven (about 275). Repeat until all chicken is fried.


6 cups tender mixed lettuces (your choice, I used Romaine, Butter and Red Sails)
2 medium nectarines, pitted and sliced about 1/4 inch thick.

Arrange the salad on plates, top with chicken strips and drizzle with dressing.

*placing the cooked chicken on a rack will ensure that the chicken stays crisp, not soggy while keeping warm in the oven.

The chicken is also delicious served cold.

Make this for a friend, to thank them for.. well, being your friend!

As always, Bon Appetite.

Related Posts with Thumbnails