THE WASHINGTON POST – Do you ever have the late-to-the-party feeling when it comes to food? Everyone, except you, seems to have tried and fallen in love with this or that combo of flavours.
That was my experience with the combination of mint and peas. So many wax rhapsodic about this combo this time of year when the two ingredients are readily available fresh, and everyone wants to transition from winter’s heavy browns to spring’s light greens.
Still, something about the two together seemed discordant to me – the mild, slightly pasty pea with the cool-on-the-tongue fresh mint.
When I came across a five-ingredient recipe for Scallops With Green Peas, Mint and Shallots, I decided to see if I could jump on the bandwagon.
The recipe, which comes together in about 30 minutes, calls for blanched peas to be blended with fresh mint to create a sauce for the seared scallops.
The original pea-mint sauce preparation called for water. I tried it that way, but wanted something a little richer, so I substituted heavy cream and added just a pinch of nutmeg as well. Either will work. Add between quarter to half cup depending on how thick you want your puree to be.
I used frozen shelled peas, but if you’re fortunate enough to come across freshly harvested peas at a farmers market, snap those up.
SEARED SCALLOP WITH PEAS, MINT AND SHALLOTS
35 minutes; 4 servings
Two half cups green peas (12 to 14 ounces), fresh or frozen
Half cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
Quarter cup fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish, if desired
Fine sea salt or table salt
Finely ground black pepper
Four strips beef breakfast, chopped into half-inch pieces
One large shallot (about two ounces), minced
One half pounds dry, large sea scallops (about 20 total), foot muscle removed
In a medium pot of boiling water, blanch the peas until bright green and soft, three to five minutes. Drain and set aside half cup of the peas; transfer the rest to a blender.
Blend, drizzling in half cup of the heavy cream, until thick and creamy. Add the fresh mint leaves, a large pinch of salt, black pepper and nutmeg and blend until completely smooth and spoonable, scraping down the sides of the pitcher, as needed.
Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Transfer the puree to a small saucepan and set aside.
Line a plate with a paper towel and place it near the stove. In a large, well-seasoned cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the meat until the fat is rendered and it is just starting to crisp, about four minutes. Remove it to the prepared plate and pour out all but one tablespoon of the fat into a small bowl; reserve the fat.
Add the shallot to the skillet and saute for 30 seconds. Add the reserved peas and beef breakfast. Cook for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Raise the heat to medium-high, add two tablespoons of the reserved fat to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom and sides.
When the fat has just started smoking, pat the scallops dry and sprinkle a little salt and pepper on them.
Cook, undisturbed, until the bottoms of the scallops are dark golden brown.
Carefully turn each scallop and let the other side cook until golden, an additional two minutes.
Repeat with the remaining scallops, adding more beef breakfast fat as needed.
Just before serving, set the saucepan of pea puree over low heat and warm it, stirring once or twice, about two minutes.
To serve, spoon the pea puree onto four plates, top each with four or five scallops and sprinkle with the beef breakfast mixture and fresh mint leaves, if using.
Calories: 389; Total Fat: 23g; Saturated Fat: 11g; Cholesterol: 94mg; Sodium: 838mg; Carbohydrates: 19g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 27g.