Pan-Seared Diver's Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Paint and Basil Oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 12 diver scallops, about 1 pound
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup instant flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Roasted Red Pepper Paint, recipe follows
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces field greens or mache
- 1/4 cup Basil-Oil, recipe follows
- Red Pepper Paint:
- 1 pound red peppers, about 2 large
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 10 to 12 leaves fresh basil
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Heat a large skillet or saute pan over high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil and heat until hot but not quite smoking. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Dredge in the instant flour, shaking off any excess. Add the scallops to the pan and sear for 2 minutes on the first side. Add the butter to the pan and swirl to evenly distribute. Turn the scallops and continue to cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on the second side, or until golden brown and just cooked through. Transfer to 4 serving plates and season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of the roasted red pepper paint with the rice wine vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil and whisk to combine. Toss the greens with the dressing and serve on top of the scallops. Drizzle some of the remaining Red Pepper Paint decoratively over the plates, then drizzle some of the basil oil over all. Serve immediately.Red Pepper Paint:
Core and stem the red peppers and place them along with the other ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring the pan to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the peppers to the bowl of a blender. Strain the cooking liquid and discard the solids. Add 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid to the blender and process on low for 1 minute, or until smooth and thick. If the puree is too thick, thin by adding a bit more of the cooking liquid. Season the puree with a pinch of salt, then pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve and reserve until ready to use.
Yield: 1 cupBasil-Oil:
In a small bowl combine 1 cup of ice with 1 cup of water and set aside.
In a small saucepan bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the basil leaves all at once, stirring to make sure they are all submerged. Cook for 5 to 10 seconds, then remove by using a skimmer or slotted spoon. Transfer the leaves immediately to an ice bath. Remove the leaves from the ice bath and squeeze firmly in your hands to release as much liquid as possible. Transfer the leaves to a blender along with the olive oil and salt, and process until the leaves are finely pureed, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Strain the basil oil through a fine sieve or coffee filter if a clear oil is desired.) Otherwise, place the oil in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Use the oil at room temperature, drizzled over salads, vegetables, sandwiches or grilled items.
Basil-oil will keep, refrigerated and tightly covered, for up to 1 week. (If strained, the oil will keep for up to 2 months, refrigerated and tightly covered.)
Yield: 1/2 cup basil oil