Adventures in Dining - At Our House

My lucky husband.  Or maybe not so lucky.  He usually doesn't know whats for dinner until he walks through the door.  He never knows what he might enter in to either.  I could have the kitchen torn apart with every pot, pan and bowl out as I prepare dinner. I could be mumbling to myself, reading the next steps to a recipe, while he is trying to tell me about whats in the mail or about his day. Or I could not have anything planned and its either a left over night or we go out. On average I make dinner 4 times a week, giving myself a break on Friday, and if we feel like staying in on a Saturday night and cooking a romantic dinner for two we do.

Last night the dinner adventure began with me telling him as soon as he walked in the door, "I know you don't like scallops, but I think I'm going to change your mind after you taste these". He had an "oh man, you know I don't like scallops" look on his face, to which he said, "Is there a back up dinner?"  I told him I'd make him something else if he didn't like it, but I was sure that he would, and I was right.

I had purchased scallops the day before and I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them.  I searched my cookbook library and found two recipes that I had most of the ingredients. One had an orange marinade and then there was this one from Ina Garten's new book "Foolproof".  My daughter chose Ina's recipe.  Good girl!  It was amazing.  It took about 10 minutes to prep the ingredients for the puree, and then 25 minutes for it to cook.  It took less than 10 minutes to puree the mixture, and 6 minutes to cook the scallops.  I cleaned up while the potatoes, leeks and celery root were cooking.  I had a gourmet meal in less than 1 hour! I made one minor change to the original recipe and that is I reduced the cream by 1 cup and added 1 cup of milk in place of it.  Bon appetite!

Scallops with Potato Celery Root Puree

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 leeks, white and light green parts chopped, rinsed, drained
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 pounds celery root, ends trimmed, peeled and diced
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
4 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh black pepper
24 medium sized sea scallops (buy them with muscle removed, Costco has good ones)
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Minced chive for garnish

Melt butter in a large stock pot or dutch oven, add leeks and saute over medium low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, making sure not to brown them. Add potatoes, celery root, cream, salt and pepper. Stir to combine well, and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to very low and cover pot. Cook for 25 minutes.  Stir occasionally, and be careful not to scorch the mixture on the bottom of the pan.

In batches, puree the mixture in a food processor.  Return to pot and keep warm.  Pat scallops dry with paper towel.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat about 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil on medium high heat.
Working in batches, sear scallops for 3 minutes on one side, flip and cook for two more minutes on the other.  Add additional grapeseed oil to pan as you cook the remaining scallops.  Spoon puree on plate, top with scallops and garnish with chives. Serves 3 scallops per person for 8 people as an appetizer, and serve 6 scallops per person for 4 people.


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