Serves: Makes 4 servings
- 12 Dry sea scallops (“Dry” sea scallops can be found in most fish markets and have a moisture content of less than 80%)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Warm Tomato, Caper and Olive Relish:
- 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 Roma tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
- ⅔ cup pitted niçoise olives, rinsed well and rough chopped
- 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed well and rough chopped
- ½ teaspoon fresh oregano or thyme, chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon, using a Microplane grater (or any very fine grater)
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
- ⅓ cup mascarpone
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Procedures:To make the tomato, caper and olive relish: Pat dry the scallops and season with salt and pepper. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot and almost smoking add the scallops and sauté for 2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a nice golden-brown sear on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Using the same pan add 1½ tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic. Sauté until they begin to soften, about 20 seconds. Deglaze pan by adding white wine and stirring to loosen any browned bits in the pan. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1½ minutes. Add olives and capers; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds more. Stir in oregano (or thyme) and adjust seasoning if needed.
To make the polenta: In a large pot, bring the milk, water and salt to a boil over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the polenta (or cornmeal) in a slow steady stream. The liquid will be absorbed and the cornmeal will immediately thicken, just whisk through it. Lower the heat and continuously whisk until the polenta is thick and smooth, about 20 minutes.
Add the mascarpone and butter; continue to stir until incorporated and creamy, about 5 minutes; add the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Remove the polenta from the heat and serve.
On a warm plate, "pool" the polenta in the center of the plate, top with 3 scallops and spoon the warm relish over the scallops. Garnish with chopped chives and lemon zest.