Gochujang Dusted Seared Scallops • Whipped Yuzu Broccoli & Asparagus Purée • Spiced Honey Lime Glaze
(PS - this one is easy to pull off!)
So here’s an insider tip... one of the easiest ways to elevate your home cooking to match the appeal of a fine dining plate is the “spoon drag” through a whipped veggie purée. It’s a little “pretentious” but it ALWAYS gets me when I’m dining out. While it can take time to hone your puree techniques in a professional kitchen, the pressure is OFF at home. No need to spend the time achieving a perfect consistency or straining it if it TASTES good.
More importantly for those of us who eat clean, it’s an AMAZING WAY to FEEL like you’re indulging in mashed potatoes (without the guilt & bloating) AND to incorporate different veggies into your cuisine other than steaming or roasting them. In the springtime this dish is perfect over a whipped mint pea purée. That’s always popular. But think of the possibilities: rutabaga, turnips, parsnips, celery root, sunchokes, cauliflower... ALL of those can be steamed or boiled and then pureed using the same type of technique and you then have so many varieties of mashed/pureed veggies to plate next to or under your proteins (or the whatever “main item” you choose to feature.)
As for the “spoon drag”...it’s easy. Just place a serving on the plate and drag the back of the spoon through it across the plate. It’s ENTIRELY UNNECESSARY but it looks cool!
For this dish, I whipped up an OPTIONAL quick sauce/glaze that you can drizzle over the scallops as you choose to. Or not. The scallops are seasoned anyway with the Korean Gochujang seasoning while they’re cooking. But if you’d like to use the glaze as well, it adds another dimension.
This recipe calls for a little bit of yuzu sauce which is made from a Japanese citrus fruit sauce. If you can’t find it, you can replace it with lemon juice. I usually find it at Whole Foods or an Asian market.
Also, for those who are unfamiliar with it, Gochujang is a Korean hot pepper paste but it also comes in a dried seasoning form. McCormick & other spice companies makes the dried seasoning. I get the paste at Whole Foods or an Asian market. For this recipe, I used the dried seasoning for the scallops and the paste for the glaze.
Additionally, for the purée, you can choose to use one or both veggies (asparagus & broccoli). Whatever you have time for. I happen to enjoy the flavor combo here. And for time saving on a busy night, feel free to buy STEAMABLE bags of the veggies. I describe boiling fresh veggies here, but you can omit that step by using frozen steamables.
And, finally, before you season the scallops, DRY THEM OFF with paper towels. They will get a better sear on them (as opposed to wet scallops which will steam in the pan instead of searing). This should be done with any protein.
For the purée:
* 3 cups broccoli florets (or steamables)
* 1 small bunch asparagus (cleaned & trimmed) (or steamables)
* 1 cup diced yellow onions
* 1 shallot, chopped
* 1 tbsp minced garlic
* 1-2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
* 1-2 tsp yuzu sauce (or lemon juice)
* 2-4 tbsp Veggie stock (warmed if possible)
For the scallops-
* ½ lb large sea scallops
* 1-2 tbsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
* 1-2 tsp dried Gochujang powder/seasoning
* Salt and pepper, to taste
For the glaze:
* 1-2 tbsp Gochujang paste
* 2 tbsp honey
* 2 tbsp lime juice
* 1 tsp fresh grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp dried ginger)
1. In a large pot, bring about 2-3 cups of water to a boil. Place the broccoli florets and asparagus into pot and boil until tender. (It’s ok if either is cooked a little oversoft since they’ll be pureed. But you can also boil them separately if you choose to.) Drain and set aside. (SKIP this step if you’re using steamables).
2. In a large skillet, combine the shallot, diced onions, and salt together in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently until they are translucent and fragrant. Then add the garlic and stir until it’s just starting to brown.
3. Add the veggies (whether boiled or steamed) to the skillet and toss every few minutes until all the flavors are combined. (Don’t let the garlic burn! It will become bitter).
4. Transfer the ingredients to a blender and pulse on high, adding the yuzu sauce and warmed veggie stock (1 tbsp at a time) until you get a smooth purée with your preferred thickness and consistency. Scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula (as needed). Season further with salt & pepper to taste.
5. In the meantime, season the (dried) scallops with salt & pepper. Then dust both sides with the dried Gochujang seasoning.
6. Next, grease the same skillet with the avocado or olive oil and place the scallops in a single layer. Sear them over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side until they are cooked throughout. (Tip- if they don’t turn easily then keep cooking until they’re ready to flip. That will get you the best cook on them.)
7. While the scallops are cooking, in a small sauce pot, combine the sauce/glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to let it thicken, stirring only occasionally.
8. Divide the broccoli/asparagus mash between plates. For fun, do a spoon drag!! And then top the purée with the seared scallops.
9. Drizzle with the glaze (or serve on the side) if you’ve made it.
10. Garnishing Optional- but in this photo I garnished with a few tips of the asparagus that I saved after I boiled them as well as a little lemon zest.
Photo Credit: Lauren Kamienski 📸