October 4, 2011

"T" is for Tubers...and Technical Difficulties

Turnip and Celeriac Puree with Seared Scallops

I am beginning to feel a little like Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City (minus the cigarette or popsicle, the gold name plate necklace, or the silk camisole, sorry). I am sitting at my new, snazzy computer, at a desk I finally bought, looking out my bedroom window, just staring and dreaming and thinking and typing. About food no less... but still.

Well, as I said, a new computer has found its way into my life. This due to last week's crashing of my old, itty-bitty Dell Inspiron that got me through graduate school and the past eight years. It had negative memory space left, took me hours to load anything, had crumbs in between the keys and the enter and space bar were almost worn thin, but it was my little buddy. It took me a few days to come to terms with what needed to be done, but here I am, with a sleek new machine (a desktop!) that just makes me want to email, blog, stay connected and on top of things all day long (well, I mean, to a point).

I did have a lot of free time when I was computerless though, and was in the kitchen most nights. I really got into all of the crisp, fresh fall vegetables that are out now, completely seduced by colors and textures and thoughts of big pots stewing away in a warm, spicy smelling apartment. So far, its been the freshly plucked roots and chubby, bulbous tubers that have inspired my dishes and dinners this season. From countless varieties of potatoes to beautiful rutabagas and parsnips, even burdock and taro roots; nothing has disappointed. A single pot of sauteed and simmered vegetables has easily become a bowl of soup one night, a mashed side on the second and ultimately a silky puree with a dribble of cream later in the week. Hearty and warming, nutrient-dense and satisfying, it really hasn't been that difficult saying farewell to summer.

One dish in particular has been a complete stand-out. I've been thinking about this puree since I made it. The delicate flavors of both the celeriac and turnip complimented the tender scallops, creating a very light, almost ethereal dish. The chopped garlic and grated nutmeg are subtle, but add a bit of complexity to the layers of flavor in the puree. All in all, this low maintenance fall dish is hard to beat, and one I will both fall back on and modify as the seasons change. I hope you enjoy it as well!

Turnip and Celeriac Puree with Seared Scallops
(adapted from food website "The Kitchn")

for the puree:
*2 small to medium turnips (3/4 lb.), diced into 1/2" pieces
*2 small to medium celery roots (3/4 lb.), diced into 1/2 " pieces
*2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
*4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
*1/2 c. full-fat sour cream
*salt and freshly ground pepper
*extra virgin olive oil
*freshly grated nutmeg

for the scallops:
*1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
*1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
*1 1/2 lbs. sea scallops, patted dry
*salt and freshly ground pepper

Peel the celeriac and turnips and cut into 1/2" pieces.

In a large, deep pot (4-quarts or more) heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and garlic and cook for two minutes, stirring often so everything is coated with the oil. Add salt and freshly ground pepper (be generous) and add the stock (I actually used two cups of stock and two cups of water). Bring to a simmer, and then turn the heat to low, Leave the pot partially covered, cooking for 25-30 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.

Turn off the heat and transfer the vegetables and broth in batches to a blender or food processor. Holding the down the lid tightly, blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Add sour cream and blend again, until evenly mixed througout. Return the puree to the pan and season to taste with black pepper and nutmeg. Keep the heat on low and occasionally stir.

Thoroughly dry the scallops with papertowels (this will ensure well-seared scallops, versus soggy ones). Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until foaming. When the foaming subsides add the dry scallops to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn the scallops over, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Remove the scallops from the pan and place on bed of creamy puree. Serve while hot.

1 comment:

queue said...

Don't you mean that 'T' is for Totally Titillating, as in Your Scallops Look Like They're Floating On a Sea Of Pureed Awesomeness. Not nearly as adventurous with the tubers, the combination with the scallops provides a reason for this shore boy to foray into a previously unexplored realm- short of knowing that spaghetti squash really is delicious with a marinara sauce.