February 9, 2015
Seared Scallops over Celery Puree with Tuffle Wine Sauce
Our last trip to DC was more of a foodie trip since we had seen almost every National Museum and all the privately run ones. I am not sure how each state handles happy hours, but in New Jersey they were outlawed in the 70's when the drinking age dipped to 18 and has never been challenged since.
While a few new upscale pub's got creative and offer happy hour food's that include a glass of wine or a beer, that is about as close as we will probably get. DC, being a commuter city (not much driving), is all about the happy hour.
While I am armed with top 10 lists, I love recommendations from friends. This time we were told to hit a spot in Alexandria VA. This eatery was tucked into what was the lobby of an old Majestic Movie Theatre. This was one reason we always drive to DC. A car can come in handy.
Expecting a retro shake and burger joint, the menu blew my mind.
The Nudge ordered the meatloaf but this one was made with steak. I, on the other hand, always order seafood and their scallop special was....... OOTW!!
Seared scallops on pureed celeriac, with Swiss chard and a truffle wine sauce. I don't say this often but it was the best scallop dish I have ever eaten and tonight I got the chance to try to make my version. While there are three different recipes for one dish, they are all easy and can be prepared ahead of time. The scallops get seared right before serving.
If you are looking for something other than the usual romantic Valentine dinners portrayed this time of year, and you love scallops, try this instead.
Let's break down the dish. You will need to make (or purchase):
Puree of celery root
Tuffle Red Wine Sauce (available in my supermarket is D'Artagnan Demi Glace and Truffle Butter)
Sauteed Swiss Chard
Dry Sea Scallops (if possible but buy the best)
I will say that by the time I plated my dish, took a quick pic and sat down, The Nudge was finished with his. He inhaled it.
If scallops are not your thing, make the celery root puree with roasted halibut or lamb chops.
The recipe makes enough for 6 servings and freezes well.
When you plate this I recommend the sauce first, then a dollop of puree, the chard and then the scallop. While it doesn't change the flavor, it would look more professional.
When I sat down with my plate, hubby's food was gone. We both scraped our plates clean.
Seared Scallops with Chard, Celeriac Puree and Red Wine Sauce
Celery root puree:
2 pound celery bulb, celery root or celeriac, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic
3 cups broth (your choice)
salt & pepper
teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1. Cook everything in a large stock pot until the celery root is soft, about 25-30 minutes. Drain vegetables and save the stock. Reserve 1 cup stock and add that to the vegetables. Leftover stock will be used for the sauce. Puree using a hand blender, stand mixer or processor. Taste for seasoning.
Red wine truffle sauce:
2 cups red wine
Demi glace or saved cooking stock from the puree
1. Simmer the red wine and the stock or demi glace until it coats the back of a spoon.
Add 1 tablespoon truffle butter (or unsalted sweet butter) to the wine and stir until combined. Remove until ready to serve. If the butter separates from the sauce, cool, whisk and reheat.
Sauteed Swiss chard:
2 big bunches of Swiss chard (can't find chard, 1 large bag spinach leaves can be used. Do not overcook the spinach, it is very delicate).
salt & pepper
1. Wash the greens and tear into 3" pieces. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and shake the water off the greens and add to the oil.
2.Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
4 large sea scallops per person
salt & pepper
cast iron skillet
Heat the skillet at least 5 minutes. Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil and swirl to coat the pan.
Place up to 8 scallops at one time and sear on one side (about 3 minutes), season with salt & pepper and when the bottoms are browned and caramelized, flip over and repeat.
Remove the scallops from the heat to a warming oven or plate and serve immediately.
I served a pear, walnut and blue cheese salad and a dry Riesling.