We had some friends over for Mom’s Day to celebrate the joy of being a mother to both furry children, like my sweet Yoda man, and the human ones. We did a family style main course of beautiful roasted lamb chops on herbed couscous and a big salad of heirloom tomatoes, feta, cucumbers and olives. Delicious!
I wanted to do something somewhat special for a first course and found inspiration in the aisle of my local Central Market with gorgeous radishes, beautiful fennel bulbs and zucchini, and jumbo 10 count sea scallops on sale. Add in fresh garlic, ginger, wasabi, lemon and a ton of fresh herbs and you have a starter almost as beautiful as the pink roses Gary and Yoda gave me for Mama’s Day.
Seared Spiced Scallops on Vegetable Ribbons with Ginger and Wasabi
1 pound jumbo sea scallops (10 count/pound)
Gram Masala spice
salt and pepper
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil (very fresh)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 teaspoons wasabi paste (to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped dill
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon fresh chopped mint
1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
2 carrots, peeled and tops and ends removed
1 zucchini squash, top and end removed
1 fennel bulb, top and end removed (reserve the frawns for garnish)
6 or 7 large radishes, ends and tops removed
Using a vegetable peeler shave thin ribbons of carrots and zucchini. I found the easiest way to do this is to prop the end of the veggie up on a cutting board and moving from top to bottom away from you will allow you the most control and will create the most uniform ribbons. Set aside in a bowl with a few inches of ice cold water. Using a mandolin set to the lowest setting very carefully shave the fennel bulb and the radishes. Add to the bowl of carrots and zucchini, submerging in the water. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Add the lemon juice and zest to a small bowl with the vinegar, herbs, ginger, garlic and wasabi. Season with salt and pepper and whisk together. While whisking slowly drizzle in the oil. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To prepare the scallops rinse them in cold water and pat completely dry. Season both sides with salt, pepper and the gram masala. Heat a grill pan to medium high heat and rub with the remaining olive oil. Sear the scallops on each side until golden brown and a nice crush forms (about 3 minutes on each side.) While these are searing cube the avocado into large chunks.
Remove the veggies and vinaigrette from the fridge, drain well and squeeze to remove as much water as possible then add the vinaigrette to the bowl, tossing well to incorporate all the flavors. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. To plate, add a good spoonful of the veggies to the center of a plate. Add a few pieces of avocado and top with the scallops, one for a first course opening dish, two or three for a light main course. Garnish with a few springs of the fennel frawns and serve.