I’m still struggling to find a favorite preparation for Bomster scallops – nearly every preparation I’ve tried since we moved up here has been less than satisfactory, and a real disservice to these super-fresh beauties. What I did last night hit closest to the mark, though it still needs some tweaking. The chowder-like base was a hit and the texture of the scallops was perfect, but I would have liked the scallops themselves to have a bit more oomph in the flavor department.
This is one of those rare occasions when I actually measured and took notes while I prepped and cooked. Here’s what I did – maybe one of you has a suggestion about how to tweak this?
Caramelized Bomster scallops with corn and potato chowder
1/2 lb. Scallops
2 T butter
1 fat leek, white + pale to medium green parts only, finely chopped
2 strips bacon, cut into julienne
1 medium stalk celery, finely chopped, leaves reserved
1 medium waxy potato, peeled and diced
salt + marjoram + pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 T AP flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup corn kernels, thawed if frozen (ours were stripped and frozen last summer)
Place the bacon in a small, dry saute pan. Cook over medium heat until crisp, set the bits on a paper towel to drain and set aside. Remove most of the fat from the pan, but leave a film in the pan to sear the scallops.
Melt butter in a wide saucepan. Add the leeks and celery, season with salt, and cook until softened. Add the potato, a pinch more salt, freshly ground pepper, and marjoram, and stir until the vegetables are coated with the butter and seasonings. Sprinkle the flour over and stir until vegetables are coated; allow to cook for a few minutes until you no longer have a raw flour smell. Add the white wine and stir well, cooking until reduced and thickened. Add the milk and stir through. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender and the liquid is thick and creamy. Add the corn a few minutes before serving, just to warm it through.
When the chowder is almost finished, sear the scallops in batches in the reserved bacon fat, a couple of minutes per side, until they get lightly caramelized and they are just cooked through.
To plate, ladle the chowder mixture into wide, shallow bowls, top with a few cooked scallops, and garnish with crispy bacon and finely chopped celery leaves.