In the spring I love fava beans. This puree is an incredible compliment to these seared sea scallops. We use smaller scallops, I find them to be sweeter. They’re size is 10/20 and our supplier is Monterey Fish. The key to choosing good scallops is to make sure they are translucent and ivory in color. By all means avoid frozen scallops or scallops that have been treated with preservatives. They’ll be watery and nearly impossible to get a good sear. You’ll want to get a good saute pan very hot and use an oil with a high smoking point like grape seed or canola oil. When choosing fava beans, we like the smaller pods with smaller beans. They’ll be less starchy which will make for a smoother puree that isn’t gummy. This puree is simply delicious and has an amazing green color. You’ll shell the beans and then blanch them. From there you’ll pop then into a food processor or blender with some mint leaves, lemon juice, shaved Pecorino, fresh cracked black pepper and really good quality olive oil. Make extra of this puree, it’s so good you can put in on sandwiches during the week, use it as a dip for crackers and vegetables or pair it with other fish. We’ve been doing this dish in our San Francisco cooking classes lately and we garnish it with some house made chili oil, chive flowers and black salt.
Seared sea scallops with fava bean puree
24 fresh scallops, 3 per person
3 cups fresh fava beans, shelled
2 teaspoons lemon juice ½ teaspoon salt to taste
4 large mint leaves, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3-4 grinds of fresh cracked black pepper
About ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Put the shelled fava beans into a large pot of well-salted boiling water. Cook until just tender, about two to three minutes. Plunge them immediately into an ice bath to stop the cooking. De-germ each fava bean by gently removing its outer membrane. Discard the membrane and collect the fava beans in a separate bowl. In a food processor combine the fava beans, lemon juice, salt, mint leaves, Pecorino cheese and black pepper. Puree and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Set aside.
Dry the scallops well and season each scallop with salt on both sides. Heat a large saute pan or two if necessary over medium high heat. Coat the bottom well with canola oil and once the oil is hot, add the scallops. Sear the first side until it becomes browned and nicely caramelized, about two minutes depending on the size of your scallops. Turn each scallop and cook the second side until browned and just cooked through, about one to two more minutes. Transfer to a pan lined with paper towels to blot any excess oil. Spoon a large tablespoon of fava bean puree onto each plate and top with three scallops. Garnish with baby mint leaves. Serves eight with extra fava bean puree.