Scallops and nectarines are not the most obvious pairing. But Jorel Pierce, chef de cuisine at Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen in Denver, Colorado, leaves us wondering why. Pierce, who frequently combines contrasting flavors to highlight specific notes in his dishes, purees and slices ripe nectarine to mirror the sweetness of caramelized scallops. To ensure that the sweetness doesn't tip into saccharine overkill, Pierce dots the plate with earthy brown mustard and citrusy lemon balm to balance the dish.
Scallops with Nectarines and Brown MustardRecipe adapted from Jorel Pierce, Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen, Denver, CO
Yield: 4 appetizer-size servings
Cook Time: 15 minutes
2 ripe nectarines
1 medium orange, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 dry-packed U-12 scallops
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon brown mustard
Fresh lemon balm or mint
1. Cut each nectarine against the pit on two sides. Lay the cut pieces face-down on a cutting board and cut into thin slices. Set aside. Remove the remaining flesh from the pits of each nectarine and place in a blender. Add the orange juice and blend until a smooth purée forms. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the canola oil. Once the oil is very hot, add the scallops and sear on one side for 3 minutes. Add the butter to the pan and turn the scallops over. Use a pastry brush to baste the scallops with the butter and cook for 30 seconds until the scallops are opaque. Remove the scallops from the pan and reserve.
3. To serve, spoon a bit of the nectarine purée in the center of four small plates. Place two scallops on each plate, along with a bit of mustard, the nectarine slices and the lemon-balm garnish. Serve immediately.
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