Though butternut squash is often used in heavy, rich dishes, in this recipe Steven Satterfield blends squash with apple cider and ginger for a bright purée that gets served under seared diver scallops and a fennel salad. If you’ve never had butternut squash with seafood, this dish is for you. The best part is the roasted squash seeds get pulverized into a coarse powder, which adds rich nuttiness to the final dish.
The good news is you’re going to have extra purée left over, which can easily be saved for use throughout the week. We thinned ours out the next day with some chicken stock to make a bright squash and ginger soup perfect for fall.
To learn more, read “Seeding Frenzy.”
Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Purée
Recipe adapted from Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta, GA
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes, plus cooling time
1 small (1½-pound) butternut squash, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 stick unsalted butter, divided
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups apple cider
1 thyme sprig
1 sage sprig
1 small fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced on a mandoline, plus fronds reserved for garnish
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and julienned
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
8 ounces (6 to 8 large) diver scallops
2 tablespoons Madeira
1. Preheat the oven to 300º. Remove the seeds and pulp from each half of squash and transfer to a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread out into an even, flat layer, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt. Roast in the oven until the seeds are crisp and the pulp is lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely, then transfer to a small food processor and pulse until a coarse powder forms.
2. Meanwhile, cut the squash into 1-inch pieces. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, garlic and ginger, and cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the cubed squash, apple cider, thyme and sage, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the thyme and sage, then transfer to a blender. Purée until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a medium saucepan and keep warm.
4. In a medium bowl, toss the fennel and apple with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, salt and pepper, then set aside, covered with a damp paper towel to prevent browning.
5. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Dry the scallops well, then season with salt and pepper. Sear on one side until golden brown, 1 minute. Transfer the scallops to a plate, browned-sides up, and clean the skillet, discarding any oil.
6. Return the skillet to high heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir the pan until the butter begins to brown, 2 minutes, then return the scallops to the pan, uncooked-sides down. Cook until the scallops are browned and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the scallops to a plate.
7. To the pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the Madeira, swirling the pan to form a sauce.
8. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the squash purée in the center of each plate, then place 1 scallop on each plate. Drizzle the pan sauce over each scallop then top with the fennel and apple salad. Garnish with the fennel fronds and squash seed powder, then serve.