Spring is a great time here in the Pacific Northwest. Halibut is starting to be in season, fresh local asparagus and fresh morel mushrooms -- my personal favorite 'shroom. Springtime brings out a passion for fresh vegetables. Beets and kale are great, but the herbal freshness of a slender stalk of asparagus brightens my soul.
Because some of these ingredients have a fairly short season of availability they are priceless. I want them all the time. We can get some of these all year round -- asparagus for instance -- but it never tastes as glorious as it does in March and April. The Italians have a term, "scorpacciata," which loosely translates to "big feed" -- to eat as much of a local seasonal ingredient as you can.
I prepared a scallop and asparagus recipe to take advantage of asparagus being fresh and in season right now. It only takes a few minutes to make. You can substitute halibut if you like. Halibut cheeks are also a great idea if you want to keep the seasonal trend going.
Seared Scallops with Asparagus Puree
- 1 bundle of asparagus
- 4 U-10 scallops
- 6 oz. butter
- Canola/olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- Lemon zest as garnish
- In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil.
- Trim the tough, woody ends from the asparagus. Plunge into boiling water until asparagus turns bright green and is tender. Remove and place in a bowl of ice water to set color and stop cooking.
- Cut top 1-inch off of asparagus tips and save for garnish.
- Chop asparagus stalks and place in blender, along with lemon juice, and puree.
- If needed, add ¼ cup of water to help smooth out the puree.
- In large sauté pan over high heat, add oil and half of the butter. When butter is melted and foamy, season scallops with salt and pepper and add scallops to sauté pan.
- While scallops are cooking, add asparagus puree to sauce pan and bring to a simmer.
- Turn scallops and add asparagus tips to the same sauté pan.
- When sauce is hot, add remaining butter and season with salt and pepper.
- Place sauce in bottom of plate or bowl, set scallop in middle of sauce. Top with asparagus tips and lemon zest.