Sunday, March 10, 2013

Seared Scallops with Goat Cheese Beet Puree and Fennel Salad

Today, it was 60 degrees and sunny here in Cleveland and it was absolutely delightful!  After the brutal winter we have had, it was a refreshing change and subtle reminder that warmer weather is on the way. After all of the hearty and comforting meals that I tend to make in colder weather, I was inspired to make a  lighter dish this evening.  

My mother never served beets in our house growing up so until recently, they were pretty much a foreign food to me.  A coworker of mine has a BEAUTIFUL garden and in the summer, she frequently brings me freshly grown produce, for which I am incredibly grateful.  Last year, she brought me a jar of pickled beets and I fell in love.  I would just eat them right out of the jar or as she recommended, with a side of cottage cheese.  

They are such a rustic vegetable and definitely an acquired taste.  The combination of the beets with goat cheese, served under scallops alongside the crisp fennel salad was simply delicious.  It was also pretty quick and easy to make which scores major points in my book!

Here are all of the ingredients for the fennel salad. I used a mandolin slicer to shave the vegetables into thin slices.  

Remove the fronds from the top of the fennel and slice the bulb in half.  Remove the tough core.

Remove the leaves from the radishes, slice in half and run over the mandolin.  Do the same with the red onion.  

Almost halfway done...

 Next, you want to segment the orange.  Remove the top and bottom then peel the rind off with a sharp knife.  

 Use your knife to cut the segments out in between the membranes.  

 Save the orange and squeeze juice into a bowl.  Whisk in thyme, garlic powder, salt, pepper, mustard and sugar.  

 Slowly drizzle in olive oil and whisk to form vinaigrette.  

Chop up some fennel fronds and parsley, add to salad and toss with vinaigrette.

 This is what the finished product looks like.  Now pop in the fridge and let it marinate... 

Here are the roasted beets.  To do this, toss some beets in some olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree for about 45 minutes.  Let cool, peel then chop into small pieces.  

Heat 3 cloves of garlic in a small saucepan on medium heat.  Do not brown.  

Add the cream, goat cheese, chicken stock, thyme, basil, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat.  Keep on low heat until you are ready to blend prior to serving.  

Heat some olive oil and butter in a pan... medium-high heat.  Dredge scallops in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Sear in pan until golden brown.  If the scallops need more time to cook, throw in the 400 degree oven for a few minutes.  

Place fennel salad in the middle of the plate, smear some beet puree and top with scallops.  Garnish with some fresh chopped parsley or fronds.  

Fennel Salad

1/2 fennel bulb
1/2 red onion
6 radishes
1 orange, segmented
flat leaf parsley, chopped
fennel fronds, chopped

Slice all vegetables thin with a mandolin.  Segment orange and toss to combine.  

Orange Vinigarette

juice from orange, after segments have been removed
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 t. stone ground mustard
fresh cracked pepper
3-4 T. olive oil

Whisk orange juice, thyme, garlic, salt, sugar, mustard and pepper together.  Slowly drizzle olive oil and whisk to combine.  Pour over salad and let sit in refrigerator.  

Beet Puree with Goat Cheese

1 T. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 beets, roasted and chopped
1/4 c. cream
3 T. chicken stock
0.5 oz. goat cheese
1 t. stone ground mustard
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. basil
salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic.  Heat until fragrant.  Add beets, cream, stock, goat cheese, mustard, thyme, basil, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and let reduce. Remove from heat and transfer to blender.  Blend until smooth.  Pour mixture back into saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Seared Scallops

1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
6 scallops
1/3 c. flour
big pinch of each salt, pepper and garlic powder

In a medium saute pan, melt olive oil and butter over medium high heat.  Dry scallops off with paper towel.  Combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder and dredge scallops. Once pan is hot, place scallops in and sear on both sides until golden brown.  If scallops are too soft, finish in 400 degree oven for 4-6 minutes until  scallops firm up.  

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