Sunday, September 10, 2017

Girl in the Kitchen: Seared Scallops with Goat Cheese-Yukon Purée, Asparagus, and Sorrel Vinaigrette

For as complicated as this recipe actually is, now that I'm looking at it written out, I was mainly looking for a way to use up the extra sorrel leaves I had leftover from making a different dish.  And the ham hocks I had.  That's really it.  I loved the mashed potatoes, and they will definitely get made again.  Also like the asparagus sautéed with the ham.  And I always love scallops.  Each component was a thing of beauty.  Not sure it all works together as a whole, though.  Every element is competing with the rest.  Live and learn, I guess, but at least I managed to work some scallops into the rotation.  And that's never a bad thing.

Seared Scallops with Goat Cheese-Yukon Purée, Asparagus, and Sorrel Vinaigrette
From Girl in the Kitchen by Stephanie Izard

2 smoked ham hocks (about 2 pounds)

Goat Cheese-Yukon Purée
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces plain, soft goat cheese
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces white asparagus, peeled
8 ounces green asparagus
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Sorrel Vinaigrette
8 to 10 sorrel leaves, washed
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon yellow aji chile paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons olive oil

12 sea scallops, side muscles removed
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted

Put the ham hocks in a large stockpot and cover with 2 quarts cool water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat.  Cover the pot and simmer the hocks until the meat is tender and can be peeled off the bone with a fork or by hand, about 2 hours.

To make the purée:  Remove the hocks from the water and set them aside to cool.  Add the potatoes to the pot and bring the water back to a boil.  Cook the potatoes until fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Combine the cream and goat cheese in a small saucepan over low heat, letting the cheese melt into the cream, stirring occasionally.

Drain the potatoes and put them through a ricer into a clean bowl.  Pour the cream and cheese mixture over the potatoes and stir to combine them into a thin puree.  Pass the puree through a medium-mesh sieve (optional), season with salt and pepper, cover, and keep warm until ready to serve.

Pull the meat from the ham hocks and set it aside in a small bowl.  Discard the skin and bones.

To make the asparagus:  Slice the white and green asparagus into ⅓-inch pieces (reserving two or three green asparagus spears for garnish).  Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the ham and the sliced asparagus and sauté until the asparagus is just tender, 5 to 7 minutes.  Toss with another 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and keep warm.

To make the vinaigrette:  Combine the sorrel, vinegar, egg yolk, honey, mustard, and chile paste in a blender and pulse several times to combine.  Whisk the vegetable oil and olive oil together in a measuring cup with a spout.  With the blender running, pour the oils through the opening in the lid in a slow steady stream and process until a smooth vinaigrette forms.

To make the scallops:  Pat the scallops dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat.  Add the scallops to the hot pan.  (Avoid overcrowding the scallops in the pan.  If they are too close together, they will steam inside of sear.  Sear them in batches if the pan is not big enough to hold them all at once.)  Let the scallops brown for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to medium.  Continue to cook until a brown crust forms.  Add the butter to the pan.  Turn the scallops over to brown the other sides.  While browning, spoon the melted butter over the tops of the scallops to baste them.  Remove them from the pan once you've basted them well and all edges are nice and browned.

To serve, put a spoonful of potato purée on each of four plates.  Top with a few spoonfuls of the sautéed ham and asparagus.  Divide the scallops between the plates and drizzle with the vinaigrette.  Slice the reserved raw green asparagus very thinly on a bias.  Toss with the toasted almonds and sprinkle on top of each dish.

Makes 4 servings

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