David Karp, pomologist, says that the W Murcott Afourer mandarin (tangerine) is the nation's largest mandarin crop. It accounts for nearly half of all the mandarin acreage planted. Commercially they are marketed as Cuties. At the farmers' market you can find delicious, just-picked Murcotts from Friends Ranch out of Ojai. Also, try to find the Daisy tangerine which is delicious.
Chef DJ Olsen of Lou Wine Bar on Melrose is really into celery root. He hates traditional celery, calling it a "bully" but loves the gentle flavor of the related celery root. This ugly, gnarled root ball needs to be trimmed of its gnarls. DJ chops the remaining white center and boils it under tender then purees it. He serves a scallop on top with a bit of fennel and Pink Lady apple salad on top.
Pan-seared Sea Scallops with Celery Root Purée, Bacon, Olives, Brown Butter, Apple and Fennel
Yield: 4 servings
Note: Dry-pack scallops are those not treated with sodium tripolyposphate, or STP, a chemical used to bind moisture in seafood. STP is most frequently found in frozen scallops. STP treated scallops are nearly impossible to sear to a nice golden brown as excess water leaches out during the cooking process causing them to steam rather than sear. U10 is a measurement of scallop weight, indicating 10 scallops per pound. In fish markets, such scallops are frequently sold as "jumbo."
1lb celeriac (roughly 2 med.-sized bulbs), exterior of bulbs completely trimmed away to solid white core
Filtered or bottled water
4 oz good quality butter
1/2 cup good quality cream (or more)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 Pink Lady apple, cored, cut into 1/8” batons, tossed with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 small fennel bulb, cored and julienned, tossed with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 slices thick-cut, smoked bacon, cut in half, fried until crisp, drained on paper towels
12 Niçoise olives, pitted, slice in half lengthwise
12 large sea scallops (dry-pack, U10 or jumbo size)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1. Wash trimmed celeriac of any residual dirt; cut each bulb into 8 or so equal-sized pieces
2. Place celeriac in a small sauce pan; season with 1 tablespoon salt; cover by 1” with filtered water
3. Boil until tender (to the point where they can be easily mashed)
4. Drain water; mash roughly in the saucepan
5. Add 2 tablespoons (1 oz) butter, 1/2 cup cream
6. Heat until butter has melted; season with salt/pepper; stir to combine
7. Place mixture in blender; blend, adding more cream as necessary, until mixture is smooth and silky
At this point, the purée can be refrigerated (covered) up to two days, then gently reheated when needed, or if served within two hours, kept warm in a bain marie
1. Place 4 tablespoons (2 oz) butter in a small saucepan
2. Melt over med- high heat until butter boils
3. Boil, constantly swirling the pan, until the butter starts to darken and smelly nutty
4. Immediately remove from heat to cool
Brown butter can be stored, refrigerated up to five days, kept frozen up to one month, or if served within two hours, kept warm in a bain marie
Scallops (preheat oven to 350°)
1. Place pre-cooked bacon slices on small oven-proof plate; reheat in oven as scallops cook
2. Use a sauté pan large enough to hold scallops at least 1” apart, or use two sauté pans
3. Pre-heat pan/s over hi-heat for 30-45 sec.
4. Add 1 tablespoon butter to each pan; melt until butter has stopped foaming
5. Meantime, season scallops with salt and freshly ground pepper
6. When butter has stopped foaming, place scallops in pan at least 1” apart
7. Sear over hi-heat until golden brown (3-4min.)
8. Turn heat off, flip scallops over, continue cooking in pan (2-3 min. more for med. rare)
9. Remove bacon from oven
To serve: Pre-heat serving bowls. In a small stainless bowl, combine fennel julienne and apple batons. Place two good dollops of celeriac purée in the center of each pre-heated serving bowl. Use the back of a spoon to spread the purée into a circle in the bottom of each bowl. Place scallops around the edge of this circle. Spoon 1tablespoon brown butter over scallops. Garnish with a little fennel apple salad, black olives and one slice bacon.