Recipe: Susur Lee’s butter-roasted scallops with tarragon

Recipe: Susur Lee’s butter-roasted scallops with tarragon

Toronto Life Cookbook 2013: Roasted Scallops

By Susur Lee

PREP TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 24 minutes
Serves 6


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


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.

Toronto Life Cookbook 2013: Roasted Scallops

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.

Toronto Life Cookbook 2013: Roasted ScallopsSUSUR LEE

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.

Recipes developed by Victoria Walsh. Recipe photography by Ryan Szulc. Illustrations by Aleksandar Janicijevic. Interviews by Meaghan Binstock, Chantal Braganza, Matthew Hague, Peter Saltsman, Courtney Shea and Caroline Youdan.