Recipe: Susur Lee’s butter-roasted scallops with tarragon
By Susur Lee
PREP TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 24 minutes
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 bay leaf
½ tsp sugar
1 cup water
Salt to taste
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp each chipotle powder and paprika
1 tbsp each fresh parsley, garlic and shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
½ cup panko
18 large fresh scallops
TARRAGON BEURRE BLANC
2 tbsp each white wine vinegar and dry white wine
1 tbsp shallots, finely minced
1 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
Salt and white pepper
Sugar snap peas and white asparagus spears,
blanched Handful of raisins, plumped
1. Bring purée ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Uncover and simmer until liquid evaporates. Discard bay leaf. When cool enough, whirl in a blender until puréed.
2. In a small food processer, blend butter, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon juice, chipotle, paprika, parsley, garlic, shallot and salt. Scrape down sides as needed. Stir in panko. Place mixture between 2 pieces of parchment paper, gently roll out to ½-cm thickness and place on a lined cookie sheet. Using a shot glass, cut out coins and freeze until firm.
3. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a bowl, drizzle scallops with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. To prepare beurre blanc, simmer vinegar, wine and shallots in a saucepan until reduced to 1 tbsp. Remove from heat and whisk in two pieces of butter. Return to low heat and whisk in remaining butter, one piece a time. Add tarragon, salt and pepper.
5. In batches, sear scallops over medium-high heat for 1 minute per side until golden. Remove to a baking sheet. Place a butter coin on each scallop. Roast at 375°F for 4 to 5 minutes. Drizzle carrot purée and beurre blanc over plate. Top with scallops, blanched peas and asparagus, and raisins.
To save time, roll butter mixture into a 3-cm-thick log using plastic wrap. Seal tightly. Freeze until firm. Slice into ½-cm-thick coins just before using. The mixture can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Before there was a restaurant scene in Toronto, before chefs were celebrities, and before Momofuku triggered an obsession with east-meets-west dining, Susur Lee reinvented Toronto cooking at his namesake restaurant, introducing flavour combinations unlike anything Torontonians had ever tasted. Now the pony-tailed savant is lending his talents to Bent, his sons’ Dundas West place. On the plate, Lee’s roasted scallops look fussy, the mollusks surrounded with enough artful smears to fill a Gerhard Richter canvas. The flavours, however—briny, meaty scallops, sweet carrot purée and rich, tarragon-flecked beurre blanc—are pure comfort.