Friday, December 2, 2011

Cream of Broccoli Soup with Scallops

If you read my post on butternut squash soup, you'd know that it takes very little effort to make a quality vegetable-based soup. This recipe is asking a little more of you, as searing the scallops does take a little more effort. The soup process is the same though. We cook the vegetables and blend them, that's it. After that, all you need to do is sear the scallops while you keep the soup warm. The amount of scallops you will use can vary. You can make a lot or a little, depending on how many scallops you want to eat. This soup is fine on its own as well.

In the picture above I plated the soup and scallops with a garlic crouton and some parsley oil. To make a garlic crouton, crush some garlic in a cup, add some butter and melt it in the microwave. Apply the butter to some sliced pieces of bread and bake until crunchy.

Keep the scallop ingredients close together so you can oversee
the entire pan searing process. This inhibits overcooking them.

Cream of Broccoli Soup with Scallops:
Extra virgin olive oil
Canola/vegetable/peanut oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow or white onion, roughly chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
2 to 3 heads broccoli, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 1/2 cups water or reduced sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
Scallops, dried with paper towels, leg removed
Parsley oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

1. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Sprinkle that with a little of the salt and stir. Cover the pot and let this sweat five to ten minutes.
2. Add potatoes, broccoli and 2 1/2 cups of hot water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer the potatoes until they're tender, about 8 to 12 minutes.
3. Remove pot from heat and let it cool slightly. In four separate batches, blend the soup until it is smooth.
4. Return the soup to the pot over low heat. Add the cream, and then season with pepper. Keep this over low heat while you prepare the scallops. Make sure it is warm and increase the heat if needed; stir occasionally as well.
5. Heat a large skillet over high heat. (The larger the better.) Add about 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix in the pan as it heats. Wait until the oil is almost smoking, then add the scallops one at a time, trying to maximize the space between each one. Do not touch them until you see dark brown caramelization around the outside.
6. Flip each scallop over, add the butter and the remove the skillet from the heat. While the scallops cook on this side baste them with the melted butter sauce until cooked to your desired doneness.
7. Ladle the warm soup into bowls, add the scallops caramelized side up and finish with pepper.

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