Feeling Inspired: Scallops with Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce

I’ve been inspired lately. By the exuberant growth of our container garden, by the appearance of favas (and peaches!) and perfect red Tristar strawberries in the Union Square market, and by the excited chatter on Twitter each day as friends announce their seasonal purchases and pie-making plans.

I’ve also been inspired by a blog I’ve been reading—the chronicles of Seattle ballerina Kari Brunson as she interns at a place she calls The Restaurant. Reading this post (and this one on Kari’s home-cooking blog) made my mouth water. As she wrote about her lovingly prepared homemade gnocchi topped with favas and a perfectly seared scallop, I couldn’t help but form a plan for dinner. Not the dish Kari made, but scallops nonetheless.

The scallops sold at the fish stand at our farmer’s market are standouts. They are sweet and palpably fresh—one gets the sense that they’d be delicious raw. Each bite has a lingering richness and fullness of flavor that outshines any I’ve had in a restaurant.

In addition to the perfect scallops, my early-morning market walk yielded a little carton of chanterelles. I envisioned a sauce fragrant with white wine and a touch of mustard, infused with the velvety mushrooms and a little bit of fresh thyme.

I flubbed the execution, though. Usually I sear scallops in my nearly-nonstick cast iron skillet, but for some reason I reached for a stainless saute pan. I may not have preheated it adequately, and as soon as I went to turn those sizzling little suckers I realized I’d failed. They clung to the pan and their perfect “toasted pine-nut” color did not travel with the scallop when I attempted the flip. I could have cried.

Cursing, I snapped a few pictures of the finished dish anyway, rugged as it was. And I’m glad. They weren’t Restaurant-pretty, but oh man, were they delicious. The liquid from the scallops sweetened the earthy mushroom and wine sauce, and we couldn’t get enough. We shoveled the sweet scallops to our plates and scooped the last tidbits from the serving plate with a spoon in order to slurp every last bit of the sauce. It was so delicious, I’m still thinking about it.

Scallops with Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce
serves two

olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped
1 1/2 cups (or one small carton) fresh chanterelles, dirt removed
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
3/4 cup dry white wine

1 lb very fresh dry scallops, tough outer muscle removed

Chop chanterelle stems and leave caps whole unless very large. In a small heavy saucepan or dutch oven, heat oil and garlic over medium-low heat, then add chopped chanterelles and stir to coat. Saute 3 minutes, then add thyme, mustard, and white wine. Turn to low and simmer while you prepare your scallops.

Season scallops liberally with salt and pepper. Preheat a heavy cast-iron pan over high heat with a splash of olive oil, then add scallops and do not disturb for three minutes. Flip scallops, then cook until almost opaque in the center (about 2 minutes more.) Remove scallops to a serving plate, then deglaze pan with additional white wine. Add mushroom sauce to scallop pan, stir and scrape any cooked bits from the pan. Pour sauce over scallops and serve immediately.

In chanterelles, mushrooms, scallops, seafood

Email This Post Email This Post | Bookmark or Share | | Print This Post Print This Post