Pan-Seared Scallops w/ Creamy Chili-Herb Grits

At the 2009 Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans last weekend, Peter Fischbach, executive chef for gourmet dining services at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, assisted by Erik Weatherspool of Bistro 44 in Toms River, captured second prize for their pan-seared scallops with creamy chili-herb
grits, pickled root vegetables, applewood bacon, micro greens, and corn volute.

Pan-Seared Scallops.

Pan seared Viking Village dayboat sea scallops with creamy chili-herb grits, warm “pickled” root vegetables, smoky applewood bacon, micro greens, and corn volute 


Day Boat Scallops:

12 ea Viking Village u-10 day boat scallops
Kosher salt as needed
Fresh cracked black pepper as needed
Unsalted butter as needed
4 oz. corn oil
6 oz. apple wood bacon (small diced)
2 oz. reserved bacon fat

Chili-Herb Grits:

1/2 c coarse ground grits
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. granulated garlic
2 ea. Serrano chilies minced
1/2 -1 1/2 c heavy cream
2 tbsp herb butter
Salt and pepper to taste

For The Grits:

Sweat chilies in small amount herb butter, add water and granulated garlic, bring to boil add grits, bring to boil reduce to simmer cook for approx 20 min adding heavy cream as needed. Stir in herb butter season with salt and pepper serve immediately.

**NOTE** Grits should look a bit on the runny side; they will set up on plate.

Corn Sauce:

4 ears corn (super sweet white)
5 cups Water
1 Tbsp white peppercorn
3 ea. large shallots
3 ea. garlic cloves 
2 sprigs Tarragon
2 ea. bay leaves
1 cup Dry Vermouth
Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For The Sauce:

First clean kernels from cobs, reserve cobs; then
Make stock with cobs, bay leaf, 2 shallots, peppercorn, garlic, tarragon and bay leaves. Bring to a boil than reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow it to simmer for 45 minuets and then strain.
Sweat all but 3 Tbsps. of the corn kernels and shallots, deglaze with vermouth, add corn stock bring to boil then reduce to a simmer and allow it to simmer for 5 -10 minutes covered; then puree press through chinos, season with sea salt & freshly cracked pepper.

Cider Vinaigrette:

1 cup apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
1tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp. Salmba oeleeke
3/4 cup olive oil

For The Vinaigrette:

In a large stainless steel bowl, add all of the ingredients except the oil and puree with an emersion blender. After about 45 seconds slowly start to add the oil, until vinaigrette becomes well emulsified. Pour into a squeeze bottle and set aside.

Warm “Pickled” Baby Root Vegetables:

8 ea. baby beets (peeled and ¼)
8 ea. golden baby beets (peeled and ¼)
8 ea. baby candy cane beets (peeled and ¼)
6 ea. baby carrots (peeled and ¼)
6 ea. baby maroon carrots (peeled and ¼)
6 ea. baby yellow carrots (peeled and ¼)
½ medium red onions (peeled & julienned)
½ bulb fennel (julienned)
2 Granny Smith apples (peeled & medium diced)

For The “Pickled” Root Vegetables:

Put up three small pots of salted water and bring to a boil; then add all of the colored carrots except the moroon carrots into a pot of boiling water add the maroon carrots and red beets into a pot of boiling water and lastly add the golden beets into a pot of boiling water. Cook all vegetables until just cooked but still al dente. Then shock in ice bath.

Place all vegetables into & apples into bags, keeping every vegetable separate. Squeeze some vinaigrette into each bag and cryo vac, set aside keeping warm until needed.

Micro Salad:

2 oz. McGregor Farms micro pepper cress
2 oz. McGregor Farms micro lemon-basil
2 oz. McGregor Farms micro rainbow chard
2 oz. McGregor Farms micro amaranth
2 oz. McGregor Farms micro celery sprouts

For The Micro Salad:

Combine all micro lettuces in a small salad bowl and toss until well blended.

For The Scallops:

When storing the scallops, place scallops on a paper towel then set on a plate and place in the refrigerator until needed.

Pre-heat a sauté pan and add rendered bacon fat, and a small amount of canola oil. Once the oil just starts to smoke sear scallops until crispy and golden brown in color, then flip over and cook for about 1 more minute or until scallops are just cooked, they should be slightly translucent in the center.

For The dish:

To plate the scallops, start by putting a 3” ring mold in the center of a hot plate and then push back toward the rim slightly until it’s just off center.  Next using a slotted spoon, spoon out the “pickled” baby vegetables into the ring mold; then remove the ring mold and spoon out the chili-herb grits just in front of the “pickled” baby vegetables. Ladle out the corn sauce around the grits, in a half moon fashion. Place the seared scallops over the grits, sprinkle the diced smoked bacon around the plate and put the micro salad on top of the ‘pickled’  baby vegetables and serve.  

Read more Eat & Drink articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Required not shown
Required not shown