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RECIPE: Seared Weathervane Scallops with Pan Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms and Parsnip Puree

CATEGORY

Health + Wellness

Cooking + Recipes


Our Go-To Scallop Recipe at the Wild Alaskan Kitchen

For Aaron Babinski, Wild Alaskan’s Head of Supply and Operations, procuring the best weathervane scallops for our members is only half the fun. He’s also cooked up what’s become our go-to recipe when preparing scallops in the Wild Alaskan kitchen.

“Weathervane Scallops don’t need much, especially Wild Alaskan’s,” says Babinski. “Ours are harvested, shucked, cleaned and frozen within four hours of being caught, which helps lock in their sweet, buttery flavor.”

For Babinski, vegetables make the perfect pairing with our scallops. His favorite features hen of the woods mushrooms and parsnip. But before we get to that, let’s talk about making the perfect seared scallops to go along with the preparation.

3 Keys to Searing Scallops

  • Reduce moisture on the side that will be seared before they’re placed in a pan

  • Make sure the pan is at a high temperature for searing 

  • Use a butter baste to ensure an even cook without overcooking

Scallops truly only need salt and pepper for seasoning. But when they’re ready to be basted, adding aromatics like thyme and garlic to the heated butter help build a savory flavor that’s also nice and light.

Seared Weathervane Scallops with Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms and Parsnip Puree

(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients

Parsnip Puree

4-6 parsnips (or roughly 8 oz.)

2-3 quarts cooking liquid (preferably whole milk, but stock or milks such as almond milk will do) 

Salt

Bouquet garni (optional, but preferably with half a shallot, thyme, bay leaf, black peppercorns)  

2 tablespoons butter (optional)

½ a lemon (optional)

1 tablespoon honey or agave (optional)

Pan Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms 

2 clusters of hen of the woods (or roughly 8 oz.)

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Handful of thyme sprigs (preferably tied together with twine)

Seared Weathervane Scallops

8-14 weathervane scallops (depending on size)

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon butter

3 cloves garlic cloves, smashed (optional)

Few sprigs of thyme (optional)

Instructions

Parsnip Puree 

1. Peel and medium dice parsnips.

2. In a medium pot add parsnips and cover with preferred choice of cooking liquid. Adding a bouquet garni to the pot before the cooking liquid is recommended.

3. Bring the pot up to almost a full boil, then reduce to a simmer. *If a dairy-based cooking liquid is being used, keep a very close eye when bringing up to temperature. If it gets too hot, it will scorch and spew over.

4. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until parsnips are tender and can be cut with a knife.

5. Once tender, remove parsnips and put them in a blender or food processor (preferably blender for better consistency). Because parsnips are being pureed when hot and while also using a hot cooking liquid, handle both with caution.

6. Using a portion of the cooking liquid, begin to puree parsnips. The key to making a really good consistency puree is to start by blending with very little liquid, and slowly add more liquid, allowing the blender to puree for a bit between adding liquid each time.

7. Once the puree has reached the consistency desired, season with salt. Adding a tiny bit of lemon juice, and honey or agave to give a really nice balanced taste, is recommended. And if more butter is preferred, generously add 2 tablespoons and blend until melted. (Tip: every time seasoning has been added, make sure to allow the blender to run for a few seconds to ensure the seasoning has been well distributed).

Pan Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms 

1. Break up the mushroom clusters into nice bite-sized pieces.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium saute pan on high heat.

3. Once the oil is hot, almost to the point of lightly smoking, add mushrooms to pan, and toss mushrooms to coat in the hot oil. (Tip: sometimes just a little more oil to coat may be needed. Mushrooms absorb a lot of moisture so avoid saturating them in the oil, but add just enough to coat).

4. Once coated, turn to medium-high heat.

5. Allow mushrooms to roast on one side for 1-2 minutes, then turn mushrooms and roast on the other side for another 1-2 minutes, or until they’re nicely browned.

6. Once they have a nice roast on both sides, turn the pan to high heat, toss in 1 tablespoon of butter and a handful of fresh thyme sprigs, season with salt and pepper (Tip: seasoning at the end helps to brown mushrooms, salting too early in the roasting will draw out moisture causing them to steam more than brown), and toss until butter melts.

7. Remove thyme sprigs and plate.

Seared Weathervane Scallops 

1. Place scallops between two paper towels with one sheet on top and one on the bottom to ensure there isn’t too much moisture on their surface when placed in the pan.

2. Heat the pan on high with 1 tablespoon of oil (or more depending on how many scallops are being seared).

3. Before the pan gets to a hot temperature, remove the top paper towel and season the upper side of each scallop with salt and pepper. (Tip: avoid seasoning them too early as salt will draw moisture to the top, making it difficult to achieve that even sear).

4. At the smallest amount of white smoke coming off the oiled pan, place scallops in the pan on the flat side that has been seasoned, and turn the pan down to medium-low heat.

5. Let scallops sear for 4-6 minutes.

6. Lightly lift scallops to make sure they have a nice sear and are ready to baste.

7. To baste: add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and return to high heat, while keeping the pan in motion so the butter melts without burning. (Thyme and smashed garlic cloves can be added at this time). If no butter is preferred, thyme can still be added and tossed with mushrooms. But cooking the scallops in the oven at 400° for 3 minutes to finish is advised.

8. Begin basting the unseared sides of the scallops until each one is slightly tense. Once tense, turn off the heat and flip the scallops over in the pan. Allow to rest for 1 minute in the pan, then remove to a plate. 

While this may be the go-to scallop recipe for our Head of Supply and Operations (and the entire Wild Alaskan team!), feel free to make it your own. We recommend using the recipe portion with the seared scallops as a basis to serve alongside other vegetables and preparations you’d like.


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