Wednesday, February 2, 2011
I have previously confessed my love for Laurent Tourondel... it's no secret. But I'll tell you something new: I love him even more now. Since my little eclair was born, I've been cooking, but not those spend-all-day-in-the-kitchen meals; it's been more the toss-something-in-the-slow-cooker dinners (which are delicious, don't get me wrong). But I know I'm adapting to motherhood when I get that urge to make a fab dinner, to pick recipes that take up a full page or maybe even two, have unusual ingredients or techniques, and look darn good on a plate. Enter Laurent. For my birthday in December, my mother-in-law sent me a copy of Fresh from the Market. I've drooled over it numerous times, and I finally got around to making a meal from it.
The first course is featured below. I am personally not a scallop fan. But every now and again I'll make a first course with them because my husband loves them. This recipe calls for bay scallops which I find more palatable than the big guys. I was intrigued by smoked potatoes (amazing!) and McIntosh happen to be my favorite apples. This is one great first course. It's got lots of different textures - creamy potato salad, crisp greens, crunchy apples and bacon and lush scallops. Jeff put it in his top five first courses (his long-standing favorite is also from Laurent...)
Watch for the main course: a veal chop with black trumpet ragu and crispy artichokes... mmmm.
If you're in the market for a new cookbook (and who isn't really???) check this one out. Not that I'm partial or anything.
Nantucket Bay Scallops with Smoked Fingerling Potato Salad, Endive, & McIntosh Apple
adapted from Fresh from the Market by Laurent Tourondel
2 slices thick-cut bacon
3/4 pound fingerling potatoes
1 cup hickory wood chips, soaked in water (or use a stovetop smoker with chips if you have one)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons store-bought barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon mustard oil, or grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely diced celery
1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
11/2 pounds Nantucket Bay scallops
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 head endive, sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch strips
1 small McIntosh apple, peeled and cut into matchstick-size strips
1 bunch watercress, large stems removed
Make the potato salad
Cook the bacon in a small sauté pan over medium heat until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Once cool, roughly chop the bacon.
Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and salt liberally with kosher salt. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 18 minutes. Drain the potatoes. When they are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins.
Line the bottom of a pot with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drain the hickory wood chips and place them in the pot. Heat the wood chips over a burner until they are smoking. Place the potatoes in a steamer insert and set the insert in the pot. Cover tightly with a lid, allowing no smoke to escape from the pot. Smoke the potatoes over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Alternatively, smoke them for 5 minutes in a stovetop smoker.
Whisk the mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, mustard or grapeseed oil, and sherry vinegar in a large bowl to blend.
Add half the warm potatoes to the dressing and, using a fork, crush the potatoes into the vinaigrette. Cut remaining potatoes into quarters and then fold them in.
Fold in the chopped bacon, parsley, celery, and onion, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Let the salad stand for 20 minutes to allow all the ﬂavors to incorporate, stirring occasionally.
Prepare the scallops
Heat the canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. When the pan is smoking hot, add the scallops. Sear the scallops on 1 side until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Once the scallops have caramelized, swirl the pan several times and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer the scallops to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.
Assemble the salad
Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the endive, apple, and watercress in the vinaigrette to coat.
Spoon the potato salad in the center of 6 plates. Place the scallops over the potato salad and then top with the watercress salad. Serve immediately.