In the kitchen with Ambria's Jeremy Kittelson: Scallops with bacon, watercress and butternut squash and green apple agrodolce
"This scallop recipe is a simple, seasonal dish that can be easily executed by a home cook -- and it's a definite crowd-pleaser," says Ambria executive chef Jeremy Kittelson, who's featured in this week's Chef and Tell interview. The agrodolce, which means "sweet and sour" in Italian, can be made in advance, as can the bacon. "Everyone love scallops, and the other flavors really blend perfectly, plus the dish pairs beautifully with wine, especially a riesling, sauvignon blanc or chardonnay," he notes.
And here's a tip from Kittelson for those of you making the recipe at home: "Use a paper towel to pat the scallops -- or any fish -- dry before you saute them. It removes any moisture from the surface and gives the fish a better crust." And, recommends Kittelson, "buy the freshest and best seafood you can find and afford."
Seared Sea Scallops with Butternut Squash and Green Apple Agrodolce, Bacon and Watercress Serves: 4
For the Agrodolce
1 cup butternut squash, medium dice 1 cup green (Granny Smith) apples, peeled and medium dice 1 tablespoon shallots, minced ¼ cup apple cider vinegar ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley Kosher salt and black pepper
1. In a saucepan, add half of the extra virgin olive oil, the butternut squash and shallots. Cover and cook on low heat, stirring a few times, until the butternut squash is tender, about 8 minutes. 2. Add green apples, cider vinegar, honey and the remaining extra virgin olive oil. Cook the mixture slowly on low heat until the apples begin to soften, about 5 minutes. The squash and apples should be the same texture, soft but not mushy. 3. Add chopped parsley and season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Set mixture aside.
For the bacon
4 slices apple-wood smoked bacon, small dice
1. Add diced bacon to a saute pan and cook on low to medium heat. Stir frequently until the bacon in crispy. 2. Remove bacon from the pan and place on a paper towel. Reserve.
For the scallops
8 to 10 large sea scallops 2 tablespoons grape seed oil 2 tablespoons butter, diced Kosher salt and black pepper
1. Preheat a sauté pan, large enough to hold at least four scallops at a time. It's very important to have a large enough pan so you don't crowd the scallops. 2. Lay the scallops out and pat them with a paper towel to remove any moisture from the surface. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. 3. Add oil to pan and sear the scallops on high heat, until they develop a brown crust, about 2 minutes. Flip the scallops, add the butter and baste them for about 1 minute. The scallops should be served medium rare. Repeat the process with the other scallops.
Slice the scallops in half and arrange on plates. Spoon some of the warm butternut squash and green apple agrodolce over the scallops, top the mixture with bacon and garnish with watercress sprigs. Serve immediately.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.