Pan-seared Sea Scallops with Celery Root Purée, Bacon, Olives, Brown Butter, Apple and Fennel

Written by

Here’s a delicious recipe from Chef DJ Olsen of Lou Wine Bar in Hollywood.  He will be speaking with us from the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Good Food this coming Saturday, February 20.

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
4oz good quality butter
1/2C good quality cream (or more)
2T lemon juice
1/2 Pink Lady apple, cored, cut into 1/8” batons, tossed with 1T fresh lemon juice
1/2 small fennel bulb, cored and julienned, tossed with 1T 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 1T 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 2T (1oz) butter, 1/2C 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
Brown Butter:
1. Place 4T (2oz) 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
(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 1T 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 1T brown butter over scallops. Garnish with a little fennel apple salad, black olives and one slice bacon.