Posted by johngl
A couple of weeks ago, a really good friend (BigDMcC) called me and gave me a ration of crap over the Battle Scallops post. He had the audacity to tell me I had “weenied-out” on the preparation. I hadn’t heard from him in ages and he calls me for that. What a putz. The good news is, I am very glad he encouraged me to go for it.
So, here it is again, this time, replete with greens and the butternut squash puree. The scallops were prepared identically to the previous post, so this one focuses on the squash and greens.
So, begin by finding a butternut squash, cutting it in half, then scraping out the seeds with a spoon:
Preheat the oven to 350°, slather the pieces in olive oil, hit them with a bit of salt, then put them cut-side down on a sheet pan. To keep them from sticking, I line the pan with a silpat.
Again, Chef Tre’s magic oven performs better than mine. The recipe says cook them 20 minutes. I checked them after 20 minutes and they were still quite hard. I left them in another 20 minutes and they were perfect. In fact, they were gravity-defying.
Even when I flipped them over, they continued to defy the laws of physics:
Do not try this gravity test at home unless you are Chris Angel.
Let them cool a while, then scoop the goop out of the shells and set it aside, we’ll we using it right quick.
While those squash were cooking, I prepped some celery, onion, carrots, and a bay leaf.
Take a bit of butter and sauté these guys until they are tender. Well, except for the bay leaf. Just drop it in and let it do its thing.
Deglaze the pan with a cup of dry white wine and reduce by half. After reducing the wine, take that squash and add it into the mix. Then add a cup of chicken stock.
Doesn’t that just look yummy? Don’t fret. It gets better. Stir this all up and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or so, then remove the bay leaf. Pull it off the stove and hit it with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, dump this into a food processor or a standard blender and puree the whole shebang. It comes out looking like this:
It looks a lot like a squash soup at this point, but it is really pretty thick. The recipe calls for about three cups of heavy cream at this point. Three cups? It would be squash soup. I dropped that down to a quarter cup and mixed it in. I also added about two level tablespoons of sugar and some more salt (this was in the recipe). Since I obviously didn’t need all of this for just two servings, I dipped out about a cup and a half, ran it through a strainer (to make it all really smooth), and allowed it to simmer while I did the greens.
The greens are so simple, I forgot to take pictures.
Take about a half of small onion (I didn’t have a red one, so I used a regular yellow one) and slice it up. Put about two tablespoons of butter in a pan and when it really starts to bubble, sauté the onions until they just start to brown. Add your greens. The recipe calls for chopped Swiss chard, but spinach will work just as well. Sweat the greens until they wilt. They should remain a vibrant green.
Plating is also very simple:
Just before serving, finish the squash with a couple of pats of butter, then spoon some squash puree onto the center of the plate. Add a tongs-full (there’s word for you) of greens and caramelized onion, and place your scallops around the greens. The browned butter is spread around the perimeter.
The sweetness of the caramelized onions unite with the squash and scallops wonderfully. The slight bitterness of the greens pulls the flavors forward, the browned butter adds its unique nuttiness, and the scallops just melt in your mouth.
For the wine, a 2006 Husch Gewurztraminer (Anderson Valley, CA) paired with this amazingly well. I had never tried this particular $12 Gewurz before, but at that price, it was worth a shot. It’s a soft, well-rounded wine, full of fruit, with characteristic spice. It’s 0.6% residual sugar and 13.6% alcohol make the finish not quite dry, but darn close. I’ll be grabbing some more of this stuff.
So, BigD, are you satisfied? I know I am. It was really good. Too bad you didn’t get any…