Photo: William Abranowicz
"Scallops are packed either wet or dry. Wet ones last longer and are good for soups and chowders, but they won't sear; find dry ones for this recipe. Grapeseed oil has a higher burning temperature than most oils, so I use it to avoid scorching the scallops." —Ina Garten
Makes 6 servings
DirectionsActive time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Melt butter over medium heat in a large (8" to 10") saucepan or Dutch oven. Rinse leeks well in a colander, spin dry in a salad spinner, and add to pot. Sauté over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Add potatoes, celery root, cream, 4 tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. pepper to the pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to very low, cover pot, and simmer gently 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Be careful—don' let the vegetables scorch on the bottom of the pan! In batches, pour mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until coarsely pureed. Taste for seasonings, return to saucepan, and keep warm over very low heat. If mixture gets too thick, add a little more cream.
If it hasn't already been removed, peel off the tough strip of muscle on the side of each scallop. Pat scallops dry with paper towels and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat two 12" sauté pans over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil to each pan, and when oil is almost smoking hot, add half the scallops to each pan. (If you don't have two 12" sauté pans, cook scallops in batches and keep the first batch warm in a 250° oven until second batch is ready.) Cook undisturbed about 3 minutes, until golden brown on the bottoms. Don't crowd scallops, or they'll steam rather than sear. Using a small metal spatula, turn scallops and cook on the other side 2 to 3 minutes more, until just barely cooked through. (If the pan is hot enough and you let the scallops cook undisturbed, they will not stick to the pan.)
To serve, spoon warm puree onto 6 plates. Place scallops on puree, drizzle with basil oil (if using), and sprinkle with chives.
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof. Copyright © 2012 by Ina Garten. To be published by Clarkson Potter on October 30, 2012.
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From the September 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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