Seared scallops over parsnip purée – start your festive dinner with this elegant first course of juicy, seared scallops, served atop a luscious, sweet parsnip puree, accented with warm spice, and toasted pine nuts.
What’s up, friends? How’s your holiday preparation going? Are you listening to Christmas songs on repeat all day long? I have a Christmas song stuck in my head at all times these days (which is a good thing)! We try to maintain some Christmas spirit around here, even though we don’t (and won’t) have a proper house for the holidays.
It all started with the oven, remember? (those who follow the blog closely, might recall). When it broke, we decided it’s finally time to update the whole kitchen…which led to a smaller, but related update of the dining and living rooms (mostly the floors since they are all connected); but the floor of the living room extends into the hallways…so why stop there, we thought, let’s just redo the floor throughout the whole house. And since we’re in this mess anyway, why not renew the ceilings, and get rid of that nasty popcorn texture? Oh, and while we’re at it, we can throw a fresh coat of paint in all rooms. Yeah…you get the idea!😉
But wait, that’s not all – as renovations are notorious for, there’s always some issue that pops up, when you least expect it. For us, it was a leak in one of the bedrooms, adjacent to the bathroom…So guess what – we now have to break into the bathroom, in hopes we could isolate the problem, and in essence – remodel it! The only good news in this situation is that this bathroom is old, and had to be remodeled anyway!
For those who follow the blog, you might remember that a few months ago, I jokingly said that I wish nothing else, but a new kitchen for Christmas, thinking I’d long forgotten about the remodel by this time. Now I have a new wish – a new (remodeled) house for my birthday (I dare not wish or make predictions any more…who knows what surprises await us when we open up that bath?!..)
So, to sum it up – we’re in complete remodel mode, and the end is nowhere near in sight! Perfect holiday setup!
Hopefully I didn’t bore you to death with all my remodeling rant, but this has been our life for the past month. Thanks for listening and sticking with me thus far though, as I do have some food related thoughts as well! I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for seared scallops over parsnip puree for some time now, but couldn’t get around to it.
And no – I didn’t cook and photograph that in the garage (in case you’re wondering)! It’s something I’ve made before, and it’s super easy, absolutely delicious and elegant, which makes it the perfect festive appetizer to serve to a smaller crowd for the holidays.
Seared scallops are so good on their own, but paired with this luscious, slightly sweet parsnip puree, they are fantastic! The strong parsnip flavor is mellowed by boiling the parsnips in milk, then blending them into a silky-smooth puree, accented by a touch of warm nutmeg. The earthy sweetness of the parsnips goes perfectly with the subtle buttery sweetness of the seared scallops. For a touch of elegance, I added some toasted pine nuts, and decorated with fresh oregano.
Serve them as a first course, or pair with a salad, for a festive-looking, restaurant-style dinner that only took you 30 minutes to prepare!
I hope you enjoy, and I wish you all a wonderful holiday break, and a happy New Year! 🎄🎅🎁
Looking for more seafood first course ideas, or festive small bites?
Seared scallops over parsnip puree - start your festive dinner with this elegant first course of juicy, seared scallops, served atop a luscious, sweet parsnip puree, accented with warm spice, and toasted pine nuts.
- 1 lbs fresh sea scallops *
- 1 lbs parsnips
- 2 cups milk (plus more if needed)
- 2 Tbs avocado/grapeseed oil
- 2 Tbs butter
- pinch of nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 Tbs pine nuts
Peel and chop the parsnips, and place in a saucepan with the milk. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the parsnips are soft.
Put the parsnips and all the liquid into a blender, with a pinch of salt, pepper and freshly ground nutmeg, and blend until smooth. Add more milk if needed. Keep warm.
Pat dry your scallops really well, and leave uncovered to further air dry for 30 minutes or so.
Heat 1 tbs of the oil in a cast iron pan until almost smoking, and gently add half of the scallops in a single layer, making sure they don't touch. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the top side. Sear for 2-3 minutes without stirring, until the bottom is deeply browned, and the scallops are almost all the way cooked through. Add 1 Tbs of butter to the pan, and flip the scallops over. Add salt and pepper on the other side, and cook for another minute, while basting the scallops with the butter. Remove to a plate, and keep warm while you cook the other half using the rest of the oil and butter.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the pine nuts to the pan, with the remaining oil. Toast for a few minutes until golden.
Serve the scallops atop the parsnip puree, sprinkle the pine nuts on top, and add some more freshly ground nutmeg. Add fresh herbs if desired.
Apart from the added chemicals problem, the 'wet' scallops have a washed out, soapy taste, and may release all of that absorbed liquid, while you cook them, resulting in smaller, tougher scallops that cannot develop a perfectly seared, crispy crust.
If you can't get 'dry' scallops, soak the 'wet' ones in a solution of 1 quart water, 2 Tbs sea salt and 1/4 cup lemon juice for 30 minutes, to get rid of the chemical taste, and improve their sear quality.