Browned Butter Scallops with Yam and Parsnip Puree
I am writing this while my kids watch The Jungle Book (1967) at 5 pm, with the shades drawn so the neighbors don’t judge. And this IS relevant. Because my other baby, the not so alive one, this food blog has taken a serious back seat in my life these last 9 months. From January-July my husband was gone. Then we uprooted our lives and moved from Florida to Hawaii, lived in a hotel for 6 weeks (with a 4 year, a 2 year old and 2 large dogs), and FINALLY settled into a house. This house, by the way, was built during WWII and is party of a 6 plex. My dear friend Michelle and I made a comical (and slightly inappropriate) discovery. If you have 6 babies, they are sextuplets. So I live in a sex-plex. AND this WWII home was converted from a hotel into a property. So the original historical front doors automatically lock when you exit, like a hotel door. As a result, everyone uses the back door. So to recap, I live in a sexplex and everyone uses a back door. And to loop back to my original thought, I only get stuff done while my kids are watching tv.
Now that we have gotten both of those out of the way, let us get to food. Especially considering I have barely done this in 7 months. These scallops though!!! They are so darn pretty! (And tasty, we will get to that.) For someone that pretty much operates on cell phone editing skills, I would also say that the shot isn’t bad either? Right?!?!
I had already purchased the scallops at the store since my mom was in town, but I hadn’t really thought of how I was going to serve them, or what to serve them with. After as super fun day at the Waikiki Zoo, we hit up the Waikiki Farmer’s market. I was already thinking about doing some fort of parsnip puree. But they had these beautiful white yams as well. White yams are super sweet and incredibly delicious. So what better to counter the earthiness of the parsnips with than a creamy sweet component. I opted for some arugula since it has some peppery bite. And I also grabbed some sage from the farmer’s market and was one my way. When I arrived at home I decided to go with a sage browned butter sauce with sautéed arugula and capers, over a white yam-parsnip puree. It was simply delicious; sweet, earthy, a tart saltiness from the caper berries. Yuuuuum-meee.
1 to 1½ lbs sea scallops
½ cup butter, divided
5 oz package arugula
4 parsnips, peeled
2 large white yams, peeled and cubed
1 cup chicken broth
6-8 cloves garlic, minced, divided
¼ cup caper berries (more for garnish)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves
Red pepper flakes
For the Yam and Parsnip Puree:
Bring a pot of water to a boil
Add the peeled vegetables, also cut into 2” chunks to the boiling water. Boil till soft, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from the water and add them to a powerful blender.
Also add 1 cup chicken broth, ¼ cup butter, 3-5 garlic cloves, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to the blender.
Puree until smooth.
Set the mixture aside, lidded, so that it retains its heat.
For the Scallops:
Make sure that your scallops are pat dry. This will help to ensure that they get that beautiful brown caramelization on them that you are striving for.
Salt and pepper the scallops on both sides. There is no real science to it. Just salt and pepper to taste.
(I had to do my scallops in 2 batches, you probably will too unless you whip a double burner griddle out. So repeat the 2 tsp butter, garlic and sage twice.)
Add 2 tbsp of butter to your pan and allow it to brown just a little.
Add a little bit of the minced garlic, roughly 1 tsp or so.
Place the scallops in the hot pan. Cook roughly 3 minutes per side. This is a guideline. Referencing visual ques is more important here. You want them to be brown, kinda cracking just a little bit. Once this is achieved, flip the scallops.
Add the chopped sage to the pan (1 tbsp per batch).
Spoon the butter over the scallops, basting them constantly. (I also cook my arugula, in a separate pan, at this time. It wilts pretty quick, instructions to follow.)
Repeat this process till all the scallops are cooked.
For the Sautéed Arugula and Caper Berries:
Add 1 tbsp of butter to a pan and allow it to melt.
Add some of your minced garlic, to taste, and stir till the garlic begins to brown, add the arugula and the ¼ cup caper berries.
Stir until the arugula wilts 2-3 minutes, salt and pepper to taste.
Plate by spooning roughly ½ cup of the puree on to a plate. (That is what I would eat, my husband would probably eat triple that.) Add about a ¼ of the arugula and top with 3-5 scallops. Garnish with more caper berries if desired.