Seared Scallops with Parsnip Mash

A simple and delicious recipe for your Tuesday morning.

We recently had a wonderful dish at Gautreau’s Restaurant (named one of NOLA’s top 10 of 2011 by Brett Anderson), a seared scallop appetizer on a bed of creamy corn pudding topped with fava beans and bacon vinaigrette. The scallops were plump, the corn pudding creamy and sweet. It was a basic recipe, but perfectly executed and delicious.

Simple creatures that we are, a few nights later rather than coming up with an original, we thought an attempt at the Gautreau’s recipe would be fun. Lacking fava beans we improvised with a simple corn and tomato salad (a last grasp at summer, I should say) and substituted corn pudding for a creamy parsnip mash. The result was quite excellent and entirely too easy for something that tasted so lovely. The results below!

Seared Scallops with Parsnip Mash (serves 4)

12 large sea scallops

1 lb parsnips
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup whole milk
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste

4 large scallions, chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup roasted corn
1 orange pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped

Begin by broiling the corn and pepper until browned. Peel and chop the pepper and cut the kernels off the corn. Set aside.

Cook the bacon, reserving the fat. Chop into small pieces and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the corn, scallions, tomatoes, bacon and orange pepper. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Peel and chop the parsnips and place in a pot with water and 3 cloves of peeled garlic. Bring to a boil and cook until vegetables are soft. Drain the water and mash the parsnips and garlic until creamy. Add the milk, butter and salt and pepper to taste. The parsnips should resemble creamy mashed potatoes. Cover and set aside.

In a frying pan heat the grease from the bacon and sear the scallops, about one minute per side.

When ready to plate lay a bed of parsnip mash. Place 3 scallops per person on the mash and then top with the corn and tomato salad.