Seared scallops with roasted corn, bacon and Shitake mushrooms [recipe]

Each time I find really nice sea scallops available at the market, my recipe wheels immediately start turning. There’s a slightly majestic quality to their clean, delicate flesh and unique flavor which I simply cannot resist. So, this week’s shopping trip yielded not only the most fantastic scallops I’ve seen in a while, but also a new dish that is fresh and satisfying.

There are a few rules to live by when cooking scallops, and once you have it down it really is very simple. Be sure to dry them completely after washing as excess water in the pan will cause them to steam and sacrifice the deep golden crust that creates such an impressive presentation. The pan must also be very hot to achieve this signature scallop sear. Take care to remember the two minute rule as a cooking timeline as well- overdone scallops are rubbery and tough, and no fun to eat. 

This recipe combines the classic pairing of scallops and bacon with a topping based loosely on a variation of maque choux. The flavors left in the pan after cooking the bacon and mushrooms will marry with the cream to create a rich and tasty sauce. After all, it is my firm belief that every good scallop deserves an equally good sauce.

Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn, Bacon and Shitake Mushrooms

Serves 2

6-8 large sea scallops

1 ear fresh sweet corn

4 strips center-cut bacon, chopped

2 ounces shitake mushrooms

2 tablespoons green onion, diced

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoon olive oil

½ lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove the husks and silk from the corn, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and place in the oven to roast until the kernels are tender and slightly golden, 30-35 minutes. When cool enough to handle, place flat end on a cutting board and slice the corn off the cob. Set aside.

Cook the bacon in a medium sauté pan until crisp. Drain off the majority of the fat and add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan, along with the mushrooms. Allow to cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the corn, most of the green onion, and the cream. Simmer over low heat.

In the meantime, wash the scallops and pat them dry. Season with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat (slightly lower on an electric vs. gas stove). Carefully place the scallops at least 1 inch apart and cook for 2 minutes on each side, turning only once. 

To serve, place 3-4 scallops on each plate and squeeze a small amount of fresh lemon juice on them. Spoon the corn, bacon and mushroom sauce evenly over the top. Garnish with the remaining green onion.

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