Seared Scallops with Fried Shiitakes and a Sweet Relish Served with Lemon Basil Oil

For a certain special chef's recent graduation, I created this appetizer as part of our final assignment. Everyone was extremely pleased with the results! (makes 16):
2 T olive oil
1.5 cups red onions-brunoise (very small dice~1/8 inch)
1/2 cup yellow peppers-brunoise
1 green chili-minced, seeds and all
3/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried currants
1 cup tomato concasse-pealed, seeded, and finely diced
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 bunch chives-sliced very thin
1 cup basil leaves
2 cups canola oil
3 lemons-zested
16 shiitake mushrooms-stems removed, caps wiped with a slightly damp cloth
4 cups A.P. flour
4 beaten eggs
4 cups breadcrumbs
7 cups canola oil-for frying
8 scallops-sliced in half, horizontally
2 T olive oil
salt-to taste
pepper-to taste
1. FOR THE RELISH: Heat olive oil in a large saute pan and add red onions; sweat until translucent, ~15 minutes.
2. Add orange peppers, chili, raisins, and currants and saute until peppers are soft, ~4-6 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes and saute ~5-7 minutes, until all contents are soft through; season well with salt and pepper.
4. Add white wine and reduce until it's almost gone; taste and adjust seasoning; mix in the chives and reserve.
5. FOR THE LEMON BASIL OIL: In boiling water, blanch the basil and immediately submerge it in an ice bath (bowl with ice and water), to stop the cooking process; remove from water and dry well. 
6. Heat 2 cups canola oil and add in lemon zest; cook until the oil is infused, ~6-8 minutes (dont let the lemon zest turn brown).
7. In a blender, blend the infused oil with the blanched basil; season well (you may need to add a bit of sugar, depending on your preference, as well as a few drops of lemon juice from one of the lemons).
8. FOR THE MUSHROOM CAPS: Bread shiitake caps-by dipping in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs (shaking off any excess).
9. Heat 7 cups canola oil to 380F and fry shiitake caps in batches (until just golden); remove from oil onto a towel lined tray and lightly salt right away; reserve.
10. FOR THE SCALLOPS: season the scallops and saute in olive oil until cooked through, ~1 minute per side.
11. ASSEMBLE: place one fried mushroom cap on a plate, top with scallop, top with relish, top with a bit of lemon-basil oil.
12. Optional: fry some basil leaves (in 350F canola oil, for 15 seconds) and garnish on top of the dish.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6/08/2010

    I gave this recipe a shot and it was DELICIOUS!! And by the way, your food styling pics looking amazing, congrats!