Sunday, December 12, 2010

Seared Sea Scallops with Celery Root Puree, Sauce Verte and Hazelnuts~

My husband is always supportive of my efforts in the kitchen but if he doesn't like something he will usually remain quiet.  When I hear 'this is absolutely fantastic' then I know I've hit a culinary home run!

This was a 'this is absolutely fantastic' comment dinner!  I knew I wanted to make scallops for our dinner and found the recipes in "Stir" by Barbara Lynch, one of my favorite new cookbook purchases. I was torn between the scallops on a bed of celery root puree and the scallops with sauce verte so I made both!  The combination was 'absolutely fantastic'. 

Celery root puree (aka celeriac) is a much healthier alternative to mashed potatoes and has a delicious flavor.  The fresh herb 'sauce verte' is flavored with garlic, anchovy paste and capers to give the dish a bright burst of flavor and the toasted, chopped hazelnuts are a good source of protein and good Omega-3.

I seared the scallops on the stove using the flat side of my cast iron griddle that I also use for searing fish on the grill outdoors.  Dry scallops are important to get a good sear and they can't be crowded or they will steam and not sear.

If you enjoy scallops, I hope you give this 'absolutely fantastic' dish a try!

Seared Sea Scallops with Celery Root Puree, Sauce Verte and Hazelnuts

Inspired by two recipes in Stir by Barbara Lynch
Printable Recipe

Serves 4

Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Small bunch of fresh chives

6 sprigs of fresh parsley, stems removed
4 sprigs of fresh tarragon, stems removed
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (sold in a tube in the canned seafood section of your store)
1 tablespoon capers, well rinsed
1 small shallot, chopped

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if necessary
1/2 pound celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 pound (about 12) sea scallops, drained and dried very well with paper toweling. Removing as much moisture as possible from the scallops is essential for a good 'sear'.

For the sauce:

Fill a small saucepan 3/4 full of water, add some salt and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, fill a medium bowl with ice water. Add the chives, parsley and tarragon to the boiling water and allow to blanch for about 10 seconds. Remove immediately with a slotted spoon and place in the ice water to stop the cooking. Remove the herbs from the ice water and gently squeeze out excess moisture. Coarsely chop the herbs and place in a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, anchovy paste, capers, 1 teaspoon of salt, a few grinds of pepper and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Puree until smooth. If too thick, add a little more oil. The sauce verte can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated, covered, and rewarmed before serving.

For the celery root puree:

Place celery root pieces and milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer then cover and cook until the celery root is fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer the celery root and milk to the bowl of a food processor. Add the 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper and puree. This can be prepared in the morning. chill covered, and rewarmed in the microwave before serving.

To toast the hazelnuts:

Heat the oven to 350F spread the nuts out on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

For the scallops:

To sear the scallops, heat the remaining olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the scallops in batches, leaving space between them so they sear and don't steam. You could also use a stove-top griddle for this. Allow them to cook, without turning, until very browned and crisp, about 1-2 minutes. Turn them over gently and sear another 1-3 minutes, depending on the size of the scallops.

Place 1/4 of the celery root puree on each of four serving plates. Divide scallops between four plates and season with a little salt and pepper. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the sauce verte over and around each serving. Sprinkle the toasted hazelnuts on and around the scallops and serve.


  1. I do love scallops and they look fabulous prepared this way!

  2. Fantastic meal!...Beautiful presentation too. Love Barbra Lynch!

  3. THis looks beautiful and so simple. I love that you did not bathe the scallops in the sauce. And I am thinking the sauce is a beautiful enhancer to the scallops flavor. Very lovely dish.

  4. C'est beau!! Love scallops and celeriac..this will be on our menu one day..Fingers crossed..Glad J loved it!!

  5. All i can say is "Oh my" as I drool and go heat up my left over pizza and make a salad. :-D
    Have a great week.

  6. This is such an elegant dinner. The seared sweet scallops must have been so good with the celery root puree and herb sauce. Quite a fantastic dinner indeed.

  7. Great idea to use both recipes! Looks fantastic! It is a terrific book! have never had celery root, looks good, I'll have to look for it! Larry would LOVE those scallops!

  8. looks amazing and snowy he he my hubby does the same thing!

  9. Love scallops and you found some very nice sized ones!! We very rarely find fresh ones here in the Midwest but sometimes you can get some great frozen ones.
    Both dishes look delicious..wouldn't pass either one up!

  10. I say you had a stroke of genius to combine the two recipes in one! the celeriac and the sauce verte are such a good counterpoint to the blandness of the scallops. yummy!

  11. I adore the panseared scallops! And what a beautifully presented lunch! Simply gourmet!

  12. I'm laughing....Here we don't have sea scallops, so I didn't know them...when we were in Savannah I ordered sea scallops...but when I saw them in my plate..... I had two eyes as Homer Simpson 's gets!!!.... My hubby loves I ate his tuna fish... :D .... I know he would really like your recipe, hugs and good-baking!!!Flavia

  13. It certainly looks beautiful. I'm glad that you got such a great compliment on all your efforts!

  14. these look very similar to a meal on top chef from last season!

    beautiful photos and an even better recipe!

  15. Susan , I have the worst scallop luck.. they are always dripping and I can never get a good sear unless I pay $23 a pound for diver's scallops. I dry them and leave them uncovered in the fridge and still no sear... sigh!

    This is a great combination... worthy of a splurge on some divers... celeriac is so under appreciated!

  16. Scallops is one thing I miss from my days in US. unfortunately we don't have them here. This is a beautiful recipe.

  17. I have never cooked with celery root and this looks so nice. My husband loves scallops and I am sure this would really make him happy.Great combination!

  18. I'm always happy to have a new scallop recipe and this one sounds delicious. I am now off to check on Barbara's new cookbook.

    I'm wondering if you got the pounding of snow and wind that we did on Sunday. Seems I heard it was even worse up your way.


  19. I'm a big scallop fan (hated them when I was a kid!) and these look absolutely amazing! They look perfectly seared :)


  20. i love how pretty this plate elegant. thanks for sharing this..

  21. Your scallops do look absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately my husband has a shellfish allergy, so I'll have to admire from afar!

  22. This dish will cost a fortunate if it's served in a up-class restaurant! What a great dish!

  23. My fingers are crossed too, Monique ;)

    Flavia, what a funny story. I never used to like scallops either. Now that I sear or grill them I like them.

    Deanna, these were frozen scallops. After they were defrosted (24 hours), I used lots of paper toweling to squeeze out as much moisture as I possibly could during the day. I think the secret to a good indoor sear might be the flat griddle. I've had such good luck with it.

    Bonnie, it wasn't pretty here but the big storm stayed west of us, thankfully!

  24. Straightforward, tasty, nutritious, delicious... perfect! Great dish for any time. I see you have the holiday cookie cutters with the message in them from Williams Sonoma, too... when I ordered the pastry leaves and the ginger bread man 2 inch cutter for crackers - I considered these... but didn't get them. Now... I am thinking... hmmm. Wrong move.
    They look gorgeous, too!

  25. These look fantastic! I love scallops but they are very expensive over here! Will definitely keep this recipe in mind when scallops come knocking at my kitchen door! ^..^

  26. The scallops with the celery root puree and herb sauce sounds divine. No scallops for Joe, but he will get fish!

  27. Oh Susan, your scallops always make my mouth water. Sooooo delicious looking. I love the idea of celery root puree - it's transforms what I usually think of as summer food to something that seems so seasonally appropriate.



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