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Seared scallops from Sel de la Terre

Seared scallops at Sel de la Terre
Seared scallops.

Sel De La Terre
255 State Street, Boston
The seared scallop appetizer I had at Sel de la Terre was the best part of the meal (and the meal was quite good!) It's served with corn, bacon, and maybe some cheese? - Graham Eilberg, Brookline

Seared scallops with smoked bacon, forest mushrooms, wilted spinach, and roasted native corn courtesy of chef Geoff Gardner:

Serves 4.


Scallops, U/12 size, 1 pound
Corn, husk intact, 2 each
Cremini mushrooms, sliced, 8 ounces
Slab bacon, 4 ounces
Spinach, cleaned, 6 ounces
Garlic, minced, as needed
White wine, 6 ounces
Onion, julienne, 2 ounces
Onion, large, diced, 4 ounces
Celery, large, diced, 2 ounces
Parsley, 2 bunches
Thyme, 1 bunch
Parmesan, grated
Heavy cream, 4 ounces
Butter as needed
Salt as needed
Pepper as needed


1. Clean the "foot" from the scallop and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel and reserve. Discard the "foot."

2. In a 400-degree oven, roast the corn for about 40 minutes and let cool. Remove the husk. Cut the corn kernels from the cob and reserve. Place the cobs in a pot with cold water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Add onions, celery, parsley, and thyme. Let cook for an hour. Strain, cool and reserve. The corn stock will keep for up to a week.

3. Dice slab bacon. Render until crispy. Drain away fat, but reserve fat for later use.

4. In a medium pan, pour a little of the reserved bacon fat. Saute the sliced mushrooms for about two minutes. Remove pan from flame and deglaze pan with white wine. Let alcohol cook out, about one minute, then cover mushrooms with corn stock. Let reduce by about half. Season with salt and pepper and garlic as needed. Let cool and reserve.

5. Caramelize julienne onions. Let cool and reserve.

6. For the corn ragout, combine corn, onions, spinach, mushrooms and bacon in a sauté pan over medium heat. Deglaze as needed with any leftover corn stock. Season as needed with Parmesan, salt, pepper, chopped parsley, and garlic. Finish with heavy cream. Once heated and seasoned properly, hold warm and reserve.

7. For the scallops, season with salt and pepper. In a cast iron skillet over high heat, add a little more of the bacon fat to coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle salt over the pan to help prevent sticking. Sear one side of the scallop until a nice sear is achieved. Turn over scallop to sear other side. Once both sides are seared, drain away all the fat from the pan. Deglaze the pan with corn stock and finish with butter.

8. To serve, have four warm plates handy. Place a generous spoonful of the corn ragout in the center of each plate. Flatten the ragout as needed to create a plateau for the scallops. Place four scallops on top of the corn ragout. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

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