We were partial cooks on a charity dinner the other night, cooking beside our friend Chef Darren McGrady a.k.a. The Royal Chef. We had a ball prepping for a dinner for 10 where Gary and I were in charge of appetizers and the first course, and the real chef came in with a stunning 2nd, 3rd and 4th course including a beautiful fresh pea soup with gingered crab…..I am going to have to try that one. I decided to recreate the seared scallop on fresh corn, mango and pineapple chutney I had made for a dinner we had with Gary’s daughter a few weeks ago, this time adding a little extra flare with a drizzle of fresh cilantro oil and a swipe of whipped avocado and wasabi cream. Just a few extra touches made this already delicious appetizer a home run.
Seared Scallops with Cilantro Oil and Avocado Wasabi Cream
12 jumbo sea scallops
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the chutney:
1/2 cup fresh mango, chopped into small bites
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped into small bites
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons red bell pepper, chopped into small bites
1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn, thawed
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon salt and pepper each
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lime and 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno
For the cilantro oil:
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves only, roughly chopped
6 fresh basil leaves
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Salt and pepper
1 cup grapeseed oil or other oil without a heavy flavor
For the chutney – Combine all the ingredients for the chutney in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and allow to meld together for at least an hour letting all the flavors combine.
For the avocado wasabi cream – combine avocado, wasabi, lime juice and zest in a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Add about 2 tablespoons of cream. Using an immersion blender begin to pulse the avocado until a smooth cream forms. If necessary, add the additional cream to create a silky smooth texture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the oil – combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until a smooth oil forms. Pour the oil into a squeeze bottle and set aside until ready to use.
For the scallops – season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper. Add the oil and butter to a large saute pan over medium high heat. Gently lay the scallops in the pan to sear. Repeat with a second batch if your pan isn’t large enough to cook them all at once. Sear the scallops until golden one one side, then flip over. Depending on your pan about 5-8 minutes on one side, then about 3-4 minutes on the other. You want the scallops to have a golden crust to them.
When ready to plate add a spoonful of chutney to the base of a serving dish. Top with a single scallop, then drizzle the cilantro oil over the top of the scallop and a swipe of avocado cream on the side. Delicious!